Today I went to Newport Beach where they were having a celebration to honor the men and women of the Armed Forces.
They put up 1776 American Flags which represented the first year we became a free Country.
For those who wanted, you could purchase a flag for $45.00 and not only do you get the flag at the end of the weekend celebration but they would tie a yellow ribbon around it and you could add the name of your loved one who served in the Military to honor them.
We had no idea what to expect as this was the first year they had done this.
The park was up on a hill that over looked the Coast line below. From the streets below you could see hundreds of flags flying in the wind.
The start of the park was all the flags from the different branches of the Military.
As you walked, the pathways were lined with flag after flag. Each one represented someones loved one.
Most flags had the yellow ribbon with a name attached. Someone who stood up and bravely defended our Country at some time in our history.
We purchased a flag in honor of my brother Gregory Kennedy, who died while he was in the Army. He was only 18 when he died.
This is his flag.
My sister, Patty and I were there as they were attaching some names to the ribbons. So they allowed us to put our brother's name on his ribbon.
I have to admit it was very emotional for us. Even though he died many years ago, I felt him there with us. Standing proudly as we honored him.
I know he would be happy to have a flag flying in his honor.
After we left, we thought about it and talked how we wished we would have gotten flags for our other brother, Gene and our Dad. We agreed we would do that next year.
This year, we had to quickly decide what name to put on the flag and since our brother Greg was actually in the service when he died his name was the one we picked.
We didn't even think about Gene because he is still alive. Yet, we found out these were to honor all those in the Military. Both living and dead.
Pictures can not do this experience justice. I stopped and read name after name on the flags and said a prayer for each one.
It broke my heart think about how young most of the people were when they were in the Military and how scared they must have been as they fought in the wars.
I thought of all the men and women who are over seas fighting right now. Also, those who are waiting to be shipped out. Or those who will soon follow in their footsteps and enlist.
I'm so thankful for all these men and women. Without them, where would our Country be?
Some of the ribbons showed the person was KIA or killed in action. How sad.
Some had the pictures of the person attached to the flag, but not many. I think it would be nice if next year, everyone attached a photo. They make it much more personal.
They also had some vehicles that were used in years past. Like this old Military Police vehicle.
This was one of the jeeps from World War II. I thought about the people who rode in this vehicle. What was is it like to be driving in this jeep. Were they heading towards their death? Where they going to rescue someone?
Looking inside the jeep you can see that it couldn't have been any more simple inside. Just start it and go! No radio, no aircondition, no heater. Not much comfort either.
I'm sure they felt every bump and were jerked around like crazy as they rode in here.
At the top of the park there was this monument. It is permanently installed.
The day was overcast and a bit chilly down at the beach. It seemed to add to the somber mood.
We came across this one flag that had a MIA flag attached to it. It wasn't until then that it dawned on me there are still those family members who have no idea what happened to their loved ones.
I felt ashamed that I had forgotten about those men and women.
Were they killed? Were they captured? Are they still alive? They have no idea. How heartbreaking.
This is the name of one of those brave men still MIA.
I remembered in high school wearing a copper bracelet with the name of someone who was MIA. Do you remember those?
I recall being so happy when I found out the man named on my bracelet made it home.
They also had this car, along with the son of the man who drove it and rescued many people.
This is the car and if you click on the photo to blow it up, you will see a man in a uniform. That is the son of the man who was deemed a hero. He was telling stories about his dad and what a brave man he was.
I'm really happy we went today. I've noticed the older I get, the more I'm touched by our Military and those who serve our Country.
I feel like we don't do enough to honor them. So, whenever I see little acts like this one, I want to participate.
If I could, I would shake each one of their hands and thank them in person for all they have done and all that they continue to do. Each one, is a true hero in my eyes.