Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Family, Flag, Freedom

When I passed Saint Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Clinton Township, Michigan, earlier today on my way to the library, appointments, the hospital, and a few meetings, I was proud and pleased to see the waving red, white and blue.

After all, it's the U.S. flag that the military personnel presented to my dear parents when we buried, PFC. Lukas Ventline, my brother, who died in Vietnam this day 46 years ago.

That distinguished flag decorated the space over the balcony door where I live in the pastoral Harrison Township where about 25,000 residents relish their boats and other water toys on the bright blue, frozen now, Lake Saint Clair.

Running, bicycling, or, walking my dogs daily is a treat in this town.

Yet, all that that precious flag symbolizes, I cherish mostly.

I do.

The oldest of seven, with two sets of twins, my parents were farmers in Port Austin and Cheboygan, MI., before they came to the Motor City of Detroit to find work in the automotive industries not far from that diverse and 'model' city of Hamtramck, a diverse community like Dearborn.

Hamtramck became home of many immigrants from Poland in the 50s when dad worked at the Dodge Plant, and, the Budd Company, while today immigrants are emerging from elsewhere, including the Middle East, Bosnia, Albania, South Asia, and more.

Red, white and blue stripes astound me.

Like all symbols, my flag flies high for freedom, and more.

In it I see my dead brother, the oldest of seven of us who grew up on Detroit east side.

And, even though it represents less today than I've witnessed over the decades, I still love this Nation.

I am a proud American.

And, I will stand up when I see injustice that brings tears to my eyes.

Tirelessly, I wonder what's happening to my land, my home, my flag and all that it represents

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