If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Please enter your email and we will send your username and password to you.
By Dallas Wilson, Atoka County Veteran
My faithful phone alarm clock completed its dutiful function this morning at 5:15 a.m.
As I reached towards its resting place on the post of my headboard to silence its obnoxious claxon, I heard the sound of my wife in protest at the early morning’s intrusion.
The sound of “Ohhhhhh” and the subsequent covering of her head with an extra pillow caused some guilt and extra speed in my effort to stop the intrusion into our quiet reverie.
I was successful in stopping the insufferable noise emanating from the hated device, not good for anything but making noise, and then silently made my way to the bathroom where I brushed my teeth and dressed in my old army exercise clothing.
I silently crept from the house complaining to myself that it is just too early to do this and that I was hurting from all the years of abuse I had placed upon my body. Yawning and sighing, I backed my pick-up from the garage and made my way to town.
I looked at the sky and saw all the low-lying clouds in the sky. A hint of rain was there but I had placed my faith in the local weathermen and told myself that it would be okay to place the flags assigned to me out on the streets of Atoka.
I pulled into the Veterans Building and was pleasantly surprised to discover that someone had placed our flag box at the front of the building and would not have to wrestle with moving the heavy box from the back of the building to the front.
I loaded approximately 40 flags in the back of my truck and then began my drive around town to place the flags in their designated spots for the day.
Walking around the streets and businesses of Atoka, I took note of the early morning and its restful peacefulness. No traffic to speak of, no people other than the ones who were up, like me, and making their way to work or maybe back home from a late shift at work.
I would make my way back and forth from my truck to the flag rests and it dawned on me the “beauty” of the day. Yes, it was cloudy, dark, early, and relatively quiet. I stopped as I was unfurling a flag and looked at the night sky.
I was privileged to see a tiny, silver sliver of a quarter moon peeking from the scattered clouds and smiled to myself as I thought I was probably one of a few who would be witness to the event.
It was at this time that it hit me how fortunate I am. Yes, it was early and I would rather be in my bed resting, but here I was, alone on the streets of Atoka witness to a brand new day.
I could take pride in the fact that the citizens and merchants of this town have pride in their citizenship, loyalty to their country, and the desire to demonstrate their patriotism by posting the American Flag outside their establishments.
Suddenly, all the aches, pains, thoughts of lost sleep, and the memories of former comrades and hardships were brought into perspective. I am able to be with my family, sometimes meet and see old friends, and enjoy all the comforts of this great nation.
Yes, we have our issues, all families do, but together we manage to get through the toughest of times and make for a better life for all.
I have heard friends and acquaintances of my youngest son ask with incredulous wonder why “we” [Veterans] do this. Why do we put out flags on the recognized “holidays” and work to insure that our nation is recognized? I have also heard them ask how much we are paid for what we do and when they discover that we get no monetary relief they report that they would not do anything for “free.”
Little do they know or realize that nothing is free and that so many women and men have sacrificed so much so that they can enjoy doing “nothing.”
I hope I can say, for all Veterans, that I do this because it is an honor and privilege to show our flag for the entire world to see. I do this in remembrance and for those who served before me and for those who continue to serve our great nation.
1 stood on the empty street by my pick-up and looked at the giant billowing flag which was flapping proudly in the early morning wind and it suddenly hit me, today is September 11, 2020 and I was humbled even more.