It has been a rough week. Last Saturday my Grandmama’s husband, John Banks, passed away. He was 89 years old. Then on Monday I was informed that one of my great friends from Colorado, Karen Crawford, passed away. She was forty. One death was expected. The other was a complete shock.
Today we went to the funeral for Grandpa John. He and my grandmother had been married for fifteen years and one day. My grandmother said that she had prayed that they would be together for ten years. She got five more than she had hoped.
John was a wonderful man. I knew that he was kind, caring, and ever the gentleman. I learned that he was also a talented clarinet player, a coordinated sportsman, and some one that everyone loved.
One thing that I was always amazed by, and fascinated with, was his World War II days. John flew B12 bombers over Germany in WWII. He was the captain of his squadron. When he and Grandmama moved into Presbyterian Home in Florence, SC I was there to help them move. Tom’s and I looked in the attic and found his old WWII foot locker. No one wanted it, so I took it. It is in perfect condition, has the inner tray with it, and even has the original itemized list of it contents. I am proud to have that foot locker with his name spray painted on it in yellow stenciled letters.
After the service we went to the grave side ceremony. There were three Honor Guards there to give the flag to my grandmother. Another soldier stood behind us and played “Tapps”. It was very moving. One guard also told the symbols for each of the thirteen folds in the flag. They were surprisingly very Christian.
Here is the meaning of each of those folds:
The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the
veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of
their lives for the defense of our
country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as
American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in
times of peace as well as in time of war for His
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the
words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country, in dealing
with other countries may she always be right; but it
is still our country, right or wrong.”
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is
with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag
of the United States of America, and to the
Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for
it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our
country and our flag against all her enemies, whether
they be found within or without the boundaries of our
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered
into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might
see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it
flies on Mother’s Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has
been through their faith, their love, loyalty and
devotion that the character of the men and women who
have made this country great has been molded.
The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he,
too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense
of our country since they were first born.
The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen
represents the lower portion of the seal of King David
and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen,
represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in
their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.
The world is a better place because John Banks lived in it. My grandmother is a better woman because she was his wife.