This June brings my second Fathers' Day without a father. More importantly, it brings my second Flag Day without my particular father.
My dad, who died in August of 2006, loved June. Not only was it a big month for his vegetable garden, but it also hosted his birthday, Fathers' Day and Flag Day. Surprisingly, it was Flag Day he most looked forward to. A veteran of WW11, raising the flag on all the patriotic holidays -- Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, the Fourth of July, etc -- was to him the equivalent of going to church on one of the big ones. Flag Day was all those patriotic holidays combined. It was the equivalent of rolling Palm Sunday, Easter and Christmas up into one Mac Daddy of a holiday, but for patriots.
Do most people even know about Flag Day? As a kid it felt like my family was a member of a rare religion on that day, with a quiet but proud ritual -- raising the flag. This June 14, I'm going to channel my dad, he of Tom Brokaw's Greatest Generation, and raise up the stars and stripes. I know I have a flag somewhere - how could I not?
Causes Kate Marshall Supports
Project Second Chance, an adult literacy program run by the Contra Costa County Library system in California.