From Chicken Soup for the Soul of America

The American Flag

On a Wednesday in September, I traveled south for the funeral of my grandfather. It was a day of sadness, but also one of rejoicing for the wonderful human being I had had the opportunity to know. It was also a time of great sorrow for all Americans. It had been only days since the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Driving along a Canadian prairie road, I saw a long caravan of trucks and other vehicles and, as I got closer, people on horseback. Cowboys and cowgirls were riding horses out in the middle of nowhere! The group was traveling south, toward the border, and they were flying two flags—the Canadian and the American. They were going to meet up with a group of American riders at the border between the two countries. Along the way, the Canadian cowboys were collecting cash, which they were going to give to their American counterparts. They were just one of many Canadian groups who had found a way to help and show they cared after the attacks in the U.S.

Later that day, when I was driving home from my grandfather’s funeral, the sky opened and a driving rain poured down from the heavens. Visibility was so bad that I had to slow to a crawl. It was then that I saw it. Large and glorious, whipping in the wind, perched atop an irrigation system, the water still pumping out, flew a flag! It was an American flag, raised to honor the thousands who died on September 11.

I began to cry. I thought about all those lives ending so abruptly. I also cried because I was so touched by the warm act of love demonstrated by a simple Canadian farmer. By flying the American flag he was sending out a message of love and respect to his American neighbors. His actions spoke louder than words ever could: “We are with you, dear friends. We are with you in spirit. We ache for you. We cry for you. We pray for you. We will not forget.”

The storm passed as suddenly as it had started, and I found myself driving through the most glorious sunshine. I felt like God was sending a promise for better things to come.

Ellie Braun-Haley

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