Memorial Day 2013

Now that Our Dad is home, on this Memorial Day our thoughts and prayers are with all those families and friends who’ve lost loved ones. Recently as a family, we helped the local VFW and Scouts programs replace flags at veterans’ graves of those from the Revolutionary War, Grand Army of the Republic and the Greatest Generation.

"Our Scout" places American Flags at the local graves of Revolutionary War Veterans in honor of Memorial Day.

“Our Scout” places American Flags at the local graves of Revolutionary War Veterans in honor of Memorial Day.

Today, Our Dad visited with some patriotic students in New York City to thank them for all their support during his deployment in Afghanistan. It was covered by some local media and it’s comforting to know that children all over the U.S. recognize the importance of Memorial Day.

We encourage you to enjoy this clip of coverage of today’s events from Cindy Hsu of CBS News (click this link!): http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8912684

Happy Memorial Day to all at home and afar and special thanks to all those in the Armed Forces. Let us all remember — not only those we’ve lost but those who remain.

More coming soon . . .

Late night without Jay Leno? Not until we’ve featured a visit with Our Dad’s Flag! But oddly enough, his proposed replacement Jimmy Fallon never did return Our Dad’s Flag  to us . . . Hmm. Hope we don’t have to wait until 2014! Stay tuned.

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Lucky Horseshoes Point Up at Churchill Downs

This weekend will mark the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby — a years worth of training, competing, financial losses and gains — all culmintating in the most famous 2 minutes of horse racing excitement in Louisville, KY.

Our Dad's Flag at Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby. Copyright photo Reed Palmer Photography Churchill Downs.

Our Dad’s Flag at Churchill Downs, Home of the Kentucky Derby. Copyright photo Reed Palmer Photography Churchill Downs.

This past summer while Our Dad was deployed in Afghanistan, Our Dad’s Flag spent some time at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby. Our trememdous thanks to Mr. Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack, Ms. Patty Frazier and Reed Palmer Photography for hosting the flag in support of our American Armed Forces and for capturing such a gorgeous picture of it with the famed twin spires of racing.

Tune in this Saturday, May 4th when 20, 3-year-old throroughbreds take to the track, kick up some dirt and gallop to their place in horse racing history. With so many great horses it’ll be hard to pick a favorite. We bet our kids will root for the military-type names; Normandy Invasion, Java’s War, Revolutionary, Lines of Battle, or Will Take Charge.  

According to the Kentucky Derby website, Martina McBride will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner”  and NBC Sports will cover the events and Derby Post time is scheduled for 6:24 p.m.  For more information on the race, history and traditions of the Kentucky Derby please visit http://www.kentuckyderby.com. Also, be sure to visit www.churchilldowns.com.

Back in the Saddle Again

We’ve taken some time off from covering past visits of Our Dad’s Flag but now’s the time to get back in the saddle again! Our Dad’s been home for a few months and enjoys seeing all the photos and keepsakes we collected while he was deployed in Afghanistan.We’re lucky he’s home. A friendly racing-lore reminder: always keep your horseshoes pointing up so your luck doesn’t run out!

Thank you for reading. We hope this project continues as a tribute to all those families who hang a blue star flag in support of their loved one and all our Armed Forces. Have questions or comments? Stakes are high and the odds are good that we’ll get back to you.

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Strike Up the Band!

There have been many special folks who’ve carried Our Dad’s Flag over the past year. This time last year, the flag was busy remembering the Alamo and helping issue a warm – as he wakes – welcome to Punxsautauney Phil on Ground Hog’s Day.  Then of course it was on to party at Mardi Gras and “hog nob” with folks like Tom Hanks at the 2012 Academy Awards. So, speaking of great parades, parties and good music, we cannot forget one wee porcine friend (and creator) who hosted — and hoisted — Our Dad’s Flag.

By David Hyde Costello 2012

Little Pig parades with Our Dad’s Flag!

Our thanks go out to author/illustrator/musician/puppeteer/entertainer-extraorinaire David Hyde Costello! He participated in Our Dad’s Flag and had his most recent book character Jacob (a.k.a. Little Pig) host the flag as he marched with pride, in step and in time, with all those in Little Pig Joins the Band (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2011).

Little Pig Joins the BandOur family enjoyed this book as it empowers children who think that sometimes they’re too small to play an important part…to think again…because, well, sometimes that’s just plain old hogwash!

David also wrote and illustrated Here They Come! and I Can Help (available on Amazon hint, hint!) and works as a scenic designer for motion pictures and stage. David has also painted and created puppets for theatrical productions and is an avid recycler of cardboard and other reusable materials — not just for the environment — but for entertainment purposes as well! Mr. Costello  has a fine-tuned speciality of home-made musical instruments built from inexpensive and/or recycled materials. He combines engineering, invention, entertainment and a lil’ bit of’ magic that according to his website is to “nurture the idea that when it comes to making music, everyone can join the band.”

Little Pig would recommend you use your spare web surfing time wisely! Finish reading Our Dad’s Flag and then go immediately to experience the magic of David Hyde Costello’s YouTube marvel, Mouse’s Marble-Mobile (and then follow up that experience with the Making Mouse’s Magic-Mobile). Share it with a friend, it’s a real marble marvel!

We’re enjoying having Our Dad home and look forward to brining you more of the flag visits that took place this past year (while also waiting for some flags to be returned, ahem!) Forgot our mission with this little flag? Read How It Works.  Thanks for reading and sharing.

 

Posted in Blog, blue star flag, Connecticut, Deployment, entertainment, Family, Military Families, Travel, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Happy New Year & Welcome Home

We started out a year ago — announcing the countdown to Our Dad’s deployment en route to Afghanistan. While away, he was part of one of the transition teams working to hand the reins of government back to the Afghans.

He’s back home now and the big green monster (all his military bags and gear) has returned to the guest bedroom. One year down, now the rest of our lives – together – to go.

Our Irish Blessing to Dad

Over the past year, Our Mom and the kids sent out many of the handmade felt blue star flags in honor of Our Dad and all those serving in the Armed Forces. Although not all of them were returned, we’ve made so many great new friends along this virtual road and were honored by the participation of distinguished notables and places.  

At the 2012 farewell ceremony.

At the 2012 farewell ceremony.

This project’s not over yet so please stay tuned! We still have a number of visits to feature, adding to all the great travels of Our Dad’s Flag. Who knows? Maybe some of those unreturned flags (and we won’t name names — just yet) will make their way back home!

Thanks for reading and following. We wish you all the best for a wonderful New Year! Please keep all those serving our country and their families in your thoughts and prayers.

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Silent Night 12/14/12

It’s a silent night, a holy night. How do we follow up the “day of infamy” of Pearl Harbor in a tribute to Our Dad’s Flag when another horrible day of infamy has taken place?  It’s a different night — a very silent night. One in which we are left not knowing how to talk to our children. Although we are a few miles from the point of the tragedy, we’re sharing in the difficulty of understanding and our hearts and prayers go out to those who are affected by the horrific acts of the day.

Our Dad came home from his year in Afghanistan this week. Tomorrow we are scheduled to celebrate with our entire family at home, but our flag is now lowered to half staff. 

Homecoming 2012 297

This afternoon, Our Mom and Our Dad received their wee ones off the school bus with big hugs and kisses and very heavy hearts.

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Pearl Harbor – We Remember

Our Dad’s Flag recently had the priviledge and honor to spend an entire day on display at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii in remembrance of the Day of Infamy. A few days prior to Our Dad’s Flag visit, 50 Medal of Honor Recipients had visited the Memorial and laid a wreath to honor the men who died on December 7, 1941. The flag was nestled on the wreath and displayed for the day.

ODF on a memorial wreath laid at the USS Arizona Memorial

Our Dad’s Flag on a memorial wreath laid at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial

Our Dad and family are honored that Alycia Anderson, of the National Parks Services WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument, helped out with our family project in patriotism to promote support for Our Dad and ALL our troops. She was our Flag ambassador and photographer! Our thanks to Alycia and all who help maintain the solemnity of such an important U.S. memorial.

That Day  

USS Arizona on fire 12-7-41 in Pearl Harbor.

USS Arizona on fire 12-7-41 in Pearl Harbor.

2012 marks the 71st anniversary of when the Japanese sent planes over Pearl Harbor forcing the hand of the United States into a world fight as it attacked the United States. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese fired upon 12 warships in Pearl Harbor. That day, 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded. For more photos of these events, visit the NPS Photo Gallery of December 7, 1941.

2012 also marks the 50th anniversary of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. The National Parks Services offers an incredible history and tribute to the ship, it’s men and the events of this day and war thereafter. Please visit their World War II Valor in the Pacific website as you reflect upon all those “gallant men  entombed here and their shipmates” of the U.S.S. Arizona and all those who served that fateful day and many more during the War in the Pacific.

Our Dad's Flag and Family remember at the USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, HI.

Our Dad’s Flag and Family remember at the USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, HI.

2012 Pearl Harbor Day Proclamation

President Barack Obama has released a Pearl Harbor Day Proclamation:  

“On December 7, 1941, our Nation suffered one of the most devastating attacks ever to befall the American people. In less than 2 hours, the bombs that rained on Pearl Harbor robbed thousands of men, women, and children of their lives; in little more than a day, our country was thrust into the greatest conflict the world had ever known. We mark this anniversary by honoring the patriots who perished more than seven decades ago, extending our thoughts and prayers to the loved ones they left behind, and showing our gratitude to a generation of service members who carried our Nation through some of the 20th century’s darkest moments.

In his address to the Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt affirmed that “with confidence in our Armed Forces — with the unbounding determination of our people — we will gain the inevitable triumph.” Millions stood up and shipped out to meet that call to service, fighting heroically on Europe’s distant shores and pressing island by island across the Pacific.

Millions more carried out the fight in factories and shipyards here at home, building the arsenal of democracy that propelled America to the victory President Roosevelt foresaw. On every front, we faced down impossible odds — and out of the ashes of conflict, America rose more prepared than ever to meet the challenges of the day, sure that there was no trial we could not overcome.

Today, we pay solemn tribute to America’s sons and daughters who made the ultimate sacrifice at Oahu. As we do, let us also reaffirm that their legacy will always burn bright — whether in the memory of those who knew them, the spirit of service that guides our men and women in uniform today, or the heart of the country they kept strong and free.The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as “National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2012, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn day of remembrance and to honor our military, past and present, with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this December 7 in honor of those American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.”

BARACK OBAMA

TV Guides

Thank you for reading and remembering. Coming up next on the Our Dad’s Flag show … perhaps a visit with Tonight Show’s Jay Leno and special visit to Ed Begley, Jr.? Tune in next week.

Posted in Blog, blue star flag, Deployment, Family, military, Military Families, National Parks, news, politics, Travel, Uncategorized, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pixar This

Howdy neighbor! Our Dad's Flag with Buzz and Woody at Pixar.

Howdy neighbor! Our Dad’s Flag with Buzz and Woody at Pixar.

This Our Dad’s Flag posting is one for Our Kids. The young one’s behind Our Dad’s Flag would like to thank our friend out on the West Coast (Cheryl!), as she hit up her friends in Emeryville, CA at a company responsible for some of the best entertainment for children and their families in the form of Pixar Animation Studios. These are the great folks who bring us all of the amazing Toy Story movies (uno, dos, tres!), Monster’s Inc, Brave, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Ratatouille, Up!, The Incredibles, Cars (uno, dos!), A Bugs Life, and so much more! (Stay tuned for the 2013 release of Monster University – check out the previews!)

Sullye and Mike, Monsters Inc with Our Dad's Flag at Pixar Animation Studios, CA.

Sullye and Mike, Monsters Inc with Our Dad’s Flag at Pixar Animation Studios, CA.

The history of Pixar starts with ties to George Lucas’ recruitment of Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, sale to the Apple-great and late Steve Jobs, technological breakthroughs with computer generated short films and award winning commercials, sale to Disney and incredible blockbuster first feature-length computer animated film Toy Story. Now run under Ed Catmull and the amazing creative guide of John Lasseter, Pixar never fails to turn out anything less than awesome entertainment with well-deserved awards throughout the industry. From shorts to full length films, the animated marvels have been enjoyed by our family, and so many more for years. (A special note to all those involved in the making of Brave: our six year old son’s favorite thing to do while reenacting the movie is shine a ‘moon’ to Mom saying, “Feast ‘yer eyes!”)

Oooh! Ahhhh!

Oooh! Ahhhh!

Our thanks to the great folks at Pixar for hosting Our Dad’s Flag and taking us behind the scenes of all the wonderful magic and entertainment. Special thanks to Michelle Moretta for being the flag ambassador and to Deborah Coleman   for the wonderful pictures and as always to Cheryl Marshall (get well soon!)

Our family is gearing up for the holidays and Our Dad said he’d be home for Christmas.  It’s been a long deployment year but we’re looking forward to one heck of a holiday homecoming. Stay tuned as we keep going on this virutal journey and project in patriotism. Thank you for reading.

Our Dad's Flag with Buzz Lightyear!

Our Dad’s Flag with Buzz Lightyear!

Our favorite Aliens with Our Dad's Flag!

Our favorite Aliens with Our Dad’s Flag!

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We Are Thankful

Dear Dad: Happy Thanksgiving! We love and miss you and hope you can find some whole berry cranberry sauce in Afghanistan! To all the Armed Forces Serving far from home: Happy Thanksgiving and know that we are thinking of you all and very thankful for all that you do to help make our country great and as you assist those in need.

During this time of year we are thankful for many things like our family, friends and health. Aside from thanking Our Dad and all the Armed Forces for their service, we would especially like to thank all the “ambassadors” of Our Dad’s Flag, all the flag followers and visitors to this site. It’s really amazing to reflect upon all of our blessings and  the wonderful sites Our Dad’s Flag has seen and all the great people it’s met. We will truly give thanks on Thanksgiving Day!

Losses and Gains

Look Dad! My first tooth/teeth!!!

This past week we’ve been busy celebrating the loss of our son’s first tooth — well teeth actually. He lost two teeth in one day which scored him a $2.00 bill from the tooth fairy. Also, we are sad to announce that Elvis has left the building . . . our daughter’s Hermit Crab named Elvis passed on to crawl the sandy beaches of the great beyond. Although Dad never got to meet our crustacean cutie there are four more in their habitat waiting to celebrate his homecoming.

 Speaking of Great Sandy Beaches . . .

Now lets catch up on a wonderful visit we had during Dad’s deployment and be thankful for the hospitality by all the wonderful National Park Service folks, especially our friends in North Carolina at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Lighthouse . . .

At the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with Park Ranger Mary Ann.

Park Ranger Chris and Park Ranger Mary Ann with Our Dad’s Flag at the top of the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

Our family is so thankful to these great Park Rangers and all the National Parks Service folks who do such a great job keeping America beautiful and open for so many to enjoy. “Our Dad” often swam in NC when he was a child and visited there often as a young adult so he has been talking it up to our kids. We can’t wait to travel as a family to North Carolina for a great vacation. To learn more about this historic and beautiful lighthouse visit them at the National Parks Service site.

Happy Thanksgiving and stay tuned for more great Our Dad’s Flag visits – our family project in patriotism that promotes support for our troops.

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Veterans Day, Every Day

Happy Veterans Day. It’s an honor to pay tribute to all those who have served and all those currently serving. Please know that behind the scenes at Our Dad’s Flag, we are honoring you all with this project today and every day!
 

Flying the flags at home in honor of “Our Dad” & Veterans Day.

This past week our children unveiled Our Dad’s Flag at a school assembly in honor of Veterans Day. They profiled so many of the visits – including some we haven’t even posted yet – and their classmates loved it. The children were thrilled to share such a special project with all of their friends and teachers as well as listen to the stories of fellow students with their own family members who have served or are currently serving. 

 
The flag had a busy week as it also ran in the Harrisburg Marathon courtesy of Uncle Eric. Then Aunt Tam escorted the flag to the 13th Annual Veterans Day Parade along Fifth Avenue in New York City where she delivered Our family’s donation of new coats for those affected by Superstorm Sandy and New York Cares. She was able to get the coats — and Our Dad’s Flag – delivered directly into the hands of Pat Gualtieri of the United War Veterans Council who strategically helps organize New York City’s Veterans Day Parade.
 

Pat Gualtieri, United War Veterans Council at NYC Veterans Day Parade

For more information on Pat Gualtieri and his dedication to honoring our Veterans, read more about him in Larry McShane’s Daily News article Veterans Day organizer Pat Gualtieri keeps respect for soldiers up front at annual parade – After fighting in Vietnam, he says he returned home to a scene of turmoil and apathy toward returning troops

Also, Pat  was featured on Fox News in NY to rally for the victims of Hurricane Sandy and encourage participants in the parade collect coats for the annual New York Cares Coat Drive from spectators along the line of march.  The parade honored veterans who serve our country, including members of the National Guard, who have been critical in Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts. To donate or read more about this feature, visit My Fox NY.
 
Thanks for reading. More importantly, thank a Veteran!
 
Another visit coming soon so share the story of the flag!  
Posted in Blog, blue star flag, Deployment, Family, military, Military Families, New York, news, politics, television, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

New York Tri-State of Mind

LtC Gonyo and other members of the 69th aid in fueling of Bellvue Hospital before it’s evacuation. Photo: National Guard, Sr Airman C. Muncy.

The tide came in high this week in New York and all around the tri-state area, and not many were spared from the wrath of nature’s power. This week’s post will be kept simple in honor of those from the tri-state area of New York who were lost, those who are suffering and those who remain on guard — specifically The National Guard. These men and women who are busy 24-7, providing hope, supplies and strength to the New York area region. Especially one infantry, a historical gem, New York’s famed Fighting 69th (a la James Cagney!)

Sandy Blasted

National Guard Relief by the 69th, Lexington Armory (Photo by National Guard)

According to the National Guard’s website, New York as the third most populous state in the U.S., “was on the forefront of adopting the term ‘National Guard.’ The state officially mandated the name for its militia units during the Civil War, before the U.S. government officially adopted it in 1916. The New York Army National Guard has served its state and country throughout history, but its strength was tested on 9/11. After the terrorist attacks, the entire New York Guard was called upon. Soldiers in New York City and from all around the state assisted in security, traffic control and communications around the World Trade Center.”  Then came . . . Sandy. 

Homesick

I-69th helps evacuate Bellvue Hospital.

Units of the Army National Guard are busy joining forces from across the United States to aid the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the blast that came, conquered, killed, and left millions in chaos. Our Dad is keeping up-to-date in Afghanistan via the Internet of the problems we’re experiencing back home knowing that, even if he were home — he’d be out there, somewhere in boroughs of New York helping out in this disaster alongside his comrades of the 42nd ID, especially those at the 69th in NYC who remain much like their Irish wolfhound motto – gentle when stroked, fierce when provoked.

LtC. Gonyo and Major Gen. Murphy

Recently, Our Dad’s Flag had the honor of spending time with Lt. Colonel James Gonyo, current Commander of the Fighting 69th during the Army’s 237th Birthday celebration held in Duffy Square — the heart of N.Y.C.’s Times Square — with Major General Patrick A. Murphy and chief of Staff, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. The birthday cake? An Army tank made by none other than Buddy, The Cake Boss! (Whose Hoboken, NJ bakery sustained major outages in the hurricaine.)

The Cake Boss with Our Dad’s Flag

This was a very special visit as the 69th is an extra special division to Our Dad and his relatives. They have ancestors who served “back in the day” and who are featured on the archived walls of the Amory as part of its glorious history dating back to the Civil War. Our family’s special thanks to LtC. Gonyo, Major General Murphy & co. for participating in Our Dad’s Flag.

On Guard

The Fighting 69th in addition to numerous other branches of the National Guard have been the go-to in this natural disaster. Among so many other efforts they’re involved in, days ago LtC. Gonyo and his troops were responsible for the evacuation of Bellevue Hospital and hauling fuel up numerous flights to feed the failing generators. Of the photos Our family has seen on television and via the Internet, the children hold most dear any that feature a child, stuffed animal or dog being rescued. Especially this shot by Associated Press photographer Craig Ruttle of the dog named  Shaggy, being rescued by National Guardsmen in New Jersey. Thank you to all on guard!

Faith, Hope, & Charity

Please keep New York and the tri-state area and others beyond affected by Sandy in your thoughts and prayers. As Our children and I sat watching the Hurricane Sandy Come Together Concert the kids collected their coins and bills to donate and created their own memory boxes to take with them, “just in case.”

The time is now to have faith, hope, and charity. 1-800-HelpNow (1-800-435-7669). The American Red Cross.

Under the Boardwalk 

The 2012 NYC Marathon jersey put on hold.

With this disaster, Our Dad’s Flag has seemingly made some flag visits come full-circle around the tri-state and then some! Sandy not only destroyed the ultimate boardwalk in Atlantic City but put Mayor Bloomberg to task, rattled the folks of Staten Island, NY who love the Steven Siller Tunnel to Tower Run (who are now funding the Hurricane Sandy Relief fund), activated first responders of the F.D.N.Y. like Jim McGlynn, rallied support from President Obama and put those on guard – the National Guard & the Fighting 69th to work. Our Dad’s Flag has kept some great company. The flag was slated to run in New York City’s Marathon (Dad’s brother-in-law had planned on running his 23rd consecutive NYC Marathon in memory of his friend Jim Lynch while wearing Our Dad’s Flag) but the folks in charge decided it was more important to help those suffering in NYC and the surrounding areas with food, supplies and goods from the marathon.

Our Dad’s Flag continues to tour while we all continue to heal. Be on guard. Be ready. Remember, any disaster — of any kind — is only a few steps behind. So let’s all be prepared and be supportive of the United States of America – here and over there.

Thank you for reading . . . and to any of our followers in “those” areas (especially in Staten Island, Queens and down the Shore) Our Dad’s Flag is with you . . . and for those followers, we know who you are! Let us know what you need. xoxo. For others, remember to have faith, hope and charity.

It’s quite a week to be in a New York State of Mind…and we miss Our Dad more than ever!

Posted in Blog, blue star flag, Deployment, Family, Military Families, New York, news, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Lucky Pocket

Chief McGlynn with Our Dad’s Flag at Tunnel to Tower Run 2012

It is said that you can take a boy out of the Bronx but not the Bronx out of the boy. There’s no finer New Yorker than this week’s Our Dad’s Flag ambassador and New York Fire Department Chief, Jim McGlynn — a grand prize of ‘da Bronx.’ In any pocket of the boroughs — Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island — he along with his fellow members of the F.D.N.Y. are the bravest by far. Not only was this visit an honor but more importantly an incredible tribute to the many souls and survivors of the deplorable attacks of September 11, 2001. Our Dad serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and our entire family are honored that Chief McGlynn wore Our Dad’s Flag as he ran the 2012 Tunnel to Towers Run – an incredible run for an important memory.

By Hook or By Ladder

Runner view: inside the tunnel.

The Tunnel to Towers Run is an annual fundraising road race in memory of F.D.N.Y. firefighter Stephen Siller.  Off duty from Squad 1, on 9/11/2001 Siller responded without hesitation when he got word of the attack on the World Trade Center. It is said that when the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was closed to traffic . . . nothing would stop him. Siller suited up with over 60 pounds of gear and ran from Brooklyn through the tunnel toward the World Trade Center in Manhattan — where he then made his most ultimate sacrifice. His 5K trek has since been memorialized through the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation in a run that follows his footsteps and draws thousands

Our Armed Forces run w/gear

upon thousands of participants including surviving firefighters, families, members of the Armed Forces and friends and strangers alike who all run in his memory and raise funds for families of firefighters, wounded warriors of our U.S. Armed Forces and so many other worthy causes. The run now takes place nationally as well as internationally! It is very fitting that their motto is, “Let Us Do Good.” And to date, they do just that and then some.

Team McGlynn

Team McGlynn!

For the past few years there’s been an informal ‘team’ of friends of Chief Jim McGlynn who take part in the Tunnel to Towers run via hard work and endurance (– or those others who greet them at the finish line for some good old fashioned fun & friendship in nearby establishments of downtown NYC!) They are lovingly known as “Team McGlynn” representing The Bronx, Shore and Beyond… all in support of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and in friendship of Jim McGlynn, a 9/11 first responder, a survivor of that day with an incredible tale, and simply put — a decent human being.

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

The stories of the attacks of 9/11 are so engrained in most adult lives that they need not be retold.  Nearly 3,000 people died that day. The terroristic obliteration of the two famed towers in New York caused 343 firefighters to perish that day.  This, the darkest of days, was the one where all gave some and some gave all.

When the Walls Come Crumbling Down

On September 11, 2001, then Lieutenant McGlynn, was one of the first responders at the World Trade Center coming from Engine 39 and Ladder 16 from Midtown Manhattan. To sum up his ultimate experience that day, we’ll pull from reporter Thomas Zambito’s NY Daily News Article They Returned for a Brother, 11/5/01:

But by the time McGlynn got to the third floor, the groaning sound of twisting metal filled the air. The building shook. A whoosh of air shot up through the stairwell. The north tower was coming down. McGlynn, a no-nonsense 15-year veteran from Yonkers, listened as each floor dropped onto the other, the thuds spaced closer and closer together as the collapse gained speed. A specialist in high-rise fires, McGlynn knew exactly what he was hearing. “They call it impact load,” McGlynn said. “As each floor drops, it picks up speed. You knew that nothing was going to stop this.”

A Lucky Pocket

Back pockets.

Our Dad’s  six-year-old son constantly fills his right-hand pocket of his pants with “treasure.”  These are little knick-knacks he finds: bottle caps, beads, rocks, etc… that he thinks of as treasure (read: junk!) He tucks them away into this special pocket and keeps them safe until he returns home. He then fishes deep into the lucky pocket and says with genuine glory and pride,  “Look!” It’s amazing how important such a little space can mean so much to him. His pocket keeps things safe so he can bring them home and show off his new found happiness.

Jim McGlynn (Stairway B), Bob Beckwith (Pile Responder & Time Magazine Cover w/G.W. Bush) and Mickey Kross (Stairway B)

On 9/11/01, Jim McGlynn and a few others, inexplicably found their own lucky pockets. These firefighters were in Stairway B of the North Tower. A mixed bag of folks from engines, squads and ladders — all looking to find a fellow firefighter, help a civilian or they were simply just working their way out. Shortly after the collapse of the South Tower of the World Trade Center, the North Tower followed suit — right on top of Jim McGlynn and company in their respective parts of  Stairway B. For whatever reason – be it by design or by the divine – the intervention preserved these folks in pockets of the stairwell encased by tons of rubble. It took hours, but they were fished out of their respective, and lucky, pockets in what later became known as the “pile” – the ruins of the World Trade Center. 

It’s amazing how important such a little space meant so much. The treasure of these pockets kept them safe so they could all just simply — go home. A treasure beyond worldly riches.

So, What’s in Your Pocket?

Our Armed Forces at the 2012 Run.

Our advice? Get rid of the bad junk that’s been taking up space and refill it with true treasure! Our Dad is in the homestretch of his deployment and so incredibly humbled by Chief McGlynn’s participation in this family project in patriotism that his BDU pockets are full-up of frienship and pride! He’s over in Afghanistan where at many bases you can have a U.S. flag flown in memorial. In this tradition, some bases fly the flag for exactly 9 minutes and 11 seconds… we think you know why. It’s a tribute. A reminder of why our Armed Forces are “over there.” More importantly the message: Never forget. God Bless America and thank you for following Our Dad’s Flag.

Our thanks to Jim, Kathleen Walter & T.E. McLaughlin for photos and friendship and continued support of Our Dad’s Flag. For more on the below-the-radar tales of that fateful day read, REPORT FROM GROUND ZERO, The Story of the Rescue Efforts at the World Trade Center by Dennis Smith.

An Engine of Support – Thank you F.D.N.Y.!

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An Oval (& Resolute) Office

He sits at a desk made of reclaimed timber of the HMS Resolute, a gift from Queen Victoria many, many years ago. This refurbished partner desk is one used by many presidents in the past who have sat at the helm Of the United States of America in The Oval Office. Today, our family is honored to post the visit that Our Dad’s Flag had inside the Oval Office with the resolute leader of our nation, President Barack Obama.

Inside The Oval Office: Our family thanks President Barack Obama for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag in support of our troops.

Ship Shape

The HMS Resolute was a British Royal Navy ship that was seeking the Nortwest Passage in 1852. Captained by Henry Kellett of Tipperary, Ireland, the vessel was abandoned (under Kellett’s protest) after it was iced-in for a long period by the frigid arctic waters. Sometime later the American Whaler named George Henry discovered the ship having then floated 1,200 miles slightly weathered but not beaten — truly a resolute vessel. The British vessel was then brought to the United States where it was refurbished and gifted back to Queen Victoria.

John F. Kennedy Library photo.

When the ship was later salvaged, the Queen had it’s wood reclaimed and used to make a desk as a gift to the United States in honor of their kindness and friendship. Since the time it was given to the U.S., it has resided in the White House and used in various rooms. It was the desk John F. Kennedy chose to use during his presidency and has since been used by Jimmy Carter, Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush as well as Barack Obama. The HMS Resolute legacy lends itself those who’ve guided our country with firm determination, and dared to be bold, steady and strong while leading the United States of America.

Special Delivery

The day the postman came to our door to ask for us to sign for the special envelope in his hand he was most impressed by the return address, “The White House, Washington, DC.” He loved the fact that it was such an important address that it didn’t need a street address! Our Mom and the children were all home that special afternoon when the envelope arrived. It’s contents were beyond our expectations when we saw the photo and read the handwritten note:

“…We are grateful for your family’s service to our country, and your great idea for the Blue Star Flag. . . Barack Obama”

Now that’s one heck of a political endorsement!!!! Our thanks to President Obama and his staff and the White House Photo Office for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag.

More next time so let’s keep in touch! Thanks for reading and sharing. Be sure to sign up as an email follower and/or spread the cheer and goodwill in support of Our Dad and all the troops!  

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A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Out of this world: Darth Vader’s control function panel overpowered by Our Dad’s Flag.

In a galaxy far, far away a rocky planet, called ’55 Cancri e’ was introduced to the world today. 10/11/12 will now be known in history as the day of the diamond planet, when researchers announced the discovery of the jewel planet located in the constellation Cancer, a mere 40 light years away from our hometown. Unlike the earth’s granite and water, this planet is most likely graphite and diamond as it orbits around a star. For more details, be sure to check out your upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters (that is, if you haven’t let your subscription run out!) We wonder what George Lucas, of Star Wars fame is thinking right now . . .

 A New Hope

A Carbon-frozen Han Solo with Our Dad’s Flag!

So with the unveiling of ’55 Cancri e’ we figured we’d unveil Our Dad’s Flag visit with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) — the company that Mr. George Lucas created in order to make the original Star Wars Trilogy. Our incredibly gracious, go-to for this visit was Monique Gougeon-DiComo, a CG Production Manager at ILM. Also, the Our Dad’s Flag ambassador at ILM was Taylor Robinson at the Presidio campus of Lucas Films in San Francisco. They both provided so many great pictures from the campus, with many familiar friends (and foes) all in support of all our troops serving so far from home… (Editor’s Note: “Our Dad” is currently serving in a setting that is much like the terrain of the desert planet Tatooine!)

The Empire Strikes Back

Our Dad’s Flag on duty at LucasFilm!

Aside from the great Star Wars movies, this Lucas Film company has worked it’s magic  in the visual effects for feature films such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Rango, Star Treck, Pearl Harbor, Iron Man, War of the Worlds, Avatar, The Bourne Supremacy, Indiana Jones, the Harry Potter films, Mission: Impossible, etc.  

George Lucas has built his own media empire including LucasFilms, LucasArts, LucasFilm Animation, Lucas Licensing, LucasOnline and Skywalker Sound. Many Star Wars fans dream of a visit to the famed Skywalker Ranch.

Overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge at ILM’s Presidio Campus.

 Return of the Jedi

Our Dad’s Father’s Day gift two years ago was the collection of Star Wars films and we can’t think of anything finer than this visit with the frozen Rebel Leader, droids, Jedis, Bounty Hunters and so many more! We’re so pleased that Monique, Taylor and all the fine folks at Industial Light & Magic hosted Our Dad’s Flag in support of our troops as we wait for the return of Our Dad. Thank you all so much!

R2-D2 “Our Droid’s Flag”

Our Dad’s Flag on a Storm Trooper

Boba Fett, the Bounty Hunter sports Our Dad’s Flag.

Want More Jedi Mind Tricks?

Visit the great work of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) at http://www.ilm.com/

The Force is Great With Us

Thanks for reading! We’re in the homestretch of Our Dad’s Flag, the fun project in patriotism and the Flag has gone worlds beyond what we ever imagined. Thanks to the Kelly family for the introduction to Monique who helped make this unique, virtual family visit happen to the Empire in the galaxy far, far away (at least from us on the east coast!)

Hey, Speaking of Skywalkers

A few months ago Our Dad’s Flag had a visit with Nik Wallenda of the Flying Wallenda’s circus troupe. Prior to his June 2012 tight rope walk over Niagara Falls, Wallenda hosted our Flag. The night of his historical walk directly over the Falls, we gathered as a family to watch and cheer for the daredevil. Luckily Nik made it all the way across but unfortunately, Our Dad’s Flag never made it home as it was destroyed in the mail and all we received back was the damaged envelope and signed card from Nik Wallenda. Luckily we have more flags. And hey, as long as Nik’s own sky walk was a success…we can’t complain! Congratulations.  

Lot’s more of Our Dad’s Flag visitsto come. Read it. Share it.

 

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Fine Philatelists

When we started the Our Dad’s Flag, we knew the children would enjoy sending and receiving mail. We’ve made countless trips to our local U.S. Post Office and had many great deliveries in return (& in support of Our Dad and all the troops of course.) There’s nothing more adorable than watching a child’s expression explode into pure joy when hearing, “You got mail!”

Now That’s a Stamp Collection!

The World’s Largest Ball of Stamps, Boys Town, NE.

But what to do with all of our canceled stamps?! Oh…wait, now we know! Some time ago Our Dad’s Flag visited the world’s largest ball of stamps in Boys Town, Nebraska.  Our thanks to the great folks at Boys Town, especially our host, Karen Gehrki, Boys Town Visitor & Tour Coordinator.  She supplied us with some great pictures and wow – when the kids received the flag back – what great mail! The kids and Our Mom were thrilled! (P.S. – we saved the stamps!)

Our kids respect and are fascinated by any kind of champions of sport, title-holders and other greats of fascinating oddities — whether they make you blink in disbelief or cringe in disgust. Our bookshelves are stocked with titles from Guinness Book of World Records, Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, and similar texts of US and worldwide travel promoting the unique and unusual. So an Our Dad’s Flag visit to the World’s Largest Ball of Stamps, as cited by Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in 1955, is an honor! Our Dad and the kid’s uncle Tim have always been stamp collectors (more hobbyists than true philatelists) so here’s a shout-out and flag visit in tribute to them as well as all the U.S.  troops serving near and far.  We can’t wait to swing by in person!

As profiled by Ripley’s Believe it or Not!, the ball of stamps consists solely of 4,655,000 canceled postage stamps and is said to be solid, measure 32” in diameter and weigh in at a mere 600 pounds. Imagine the cost of shipping that sphere via Priority Mail!

Heatlh. Healing.  Hope.

Boys Town is truly a phenomenal organization with an even more exceptional history. Founded by Father Edward J. Flanagan, and made even more famous by the 1938 movie Boys Town starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney as the “city for little men” (Nominated for 5 Oscars, Spencer Tracy winning Best Actor and Dore Schary, Eleanore Griffin winning for best original story.) It flourishes today as a home for abused, abandoned and neglected children.

Above and Beyond “Boys”

Boys Town offers treatment for behavioral, emotional, physical and education needs of children and families. For more information on their incredible program please visit www.boystown.org/Discover.

A Final Salute to Boys Town

We can’t sign off from this awesome visit without noting that military service and patriotism is undeniable in the history of Boys Town. Yes, they save children and heal families…but they also have a wonderful, proud history of “boys” and girls becoming true American heroes through their service in the U.S. Armed Services and their magnificent JROTC tradition.  Some of their alumni have died in combat and many more wounded in World War II and beyond. Notable alums are Lloyd Bucher, commanding officer of the U.S.S. Pueblo (the only ship in U.S. history to be captured by North Korea) as well as four known alumni who were killed during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Boys Town has a Hall of History where these brave souls are immortalized and never forgotten.

Forever Stamps

So with all the hubbub of saving money in Forever Stamps, why not just participate in sending a soldier or any member of the Armed Forces a letter or carepackage? One of our good friends (Editor’s note: Ahem, Lori G.) uses www.AnySoldier.com , a great organization who promotes the tag line question, “Want to send your support to a Soldier, but have not idea of what to send, who to send it to, or how to send it?”

Next Up…

Wow! We have so much to catch up on. Speaking (or blogging) of special postage stamps and/or their postmarks…the post man came to the door the other day impressed that the mail he was delivering didn’t even need a “proper” return address. Hmmm. Also coming up…a fine day at the races, be it by hoof or by foot. And, there are soo many reasons we love our friends at the National Park Services. Stay tuned.

Like it? Love it? Want more of it? Sign up to be an email follower of Our Dad’s Flag. Feel free to share with a friend because this is a family project in support of ALL our troops and most importantly, a project in patriotism. So whether you Like it, Favorite it, Tweet it, Facebook it, Pintrest it …whatever you do is your choice…just enjoy it! Thanks for reading.

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Summer Vacation

Our thanks to Jeff “Swampy” Marsh & Dan Povenmire!

Our Dad’s Flag had a very busy summer vacation but “school came along just to end it.” There was no finer anthem in our house than that of the famed Disney cartoon Phineas & Ferb theme song, dedicated to all kids finding some good ways to spend their summer vacation. So, we at Our Dad’s Flag know what we’re going to do today . . . we’re going to thank Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, creators of Phineas & Ferb for participating in the Our Dad’s Flag project! You’re so awesome and our family cannot thank you and your cast & cronies for the endless fun, laughs, songs and platypus cluck-growls that we’ve grown to love and adore.

Our own Phineas on 1st day of school

This flag visit is one that was not on “Our Dad’s” list but one demanded by “Our” kids because Phineas & Ferb is one of their most favorite shows on television, especially on the Disney Channel. When Mom discussed sending the flag, the young ones had their doubts that people as important as the creators of such an outstanding children’s television program would ever take the time to participate in their wee little project. They were resigned to the fact that they’d probably have more luck asking the President of the United States to participate! (Editor’s note: Ahem.) But apparently, a Povenmire/Marsh ticket would now get their vote if 6 & 7-year-olds were allowed to impale a chad with the sharpened tip of one of their back-to-school-supply Ticonderoga pencils (which would then be neatly packed away in our son’s Perry the Platypus backpack.)

Our redheaded son favors Phineas (his twin), our daughter’s favorites are Ferb and Perry the Platypus while Dad appreciates Major Monogram (for his rank!)  as well as the chaos and wit of Dr. Doofenschmirtz and mom loves the sweet and sour of Baljeet and Buford. Thanks for all the adventures and fun.

Did Someone Say Disney?!?!

“Yes. Yes we did!” As some might remember, our summer vacation was highlighted by an incredible and ‘surprise’ leave visit from “Our Dad” where we reunited at the Orlando International Airport while he was on leave from Afghanistan. While in Florida we visited some of the great parks including Disney’s Hollywood Studios where our kids met  the Phineas & Ferb characters, got their autographs and  jammed out on air guitars. We also took a class in the Animation Studio to draw . . . who else? Phineas & Ferb!

Walt’s World

Ambassador Jennifer Mason with Minnie & the main mouse, Mickey!

Prior to our family trip, Our Dad’s Flag had it’s own visit to Walt Disney World courtesty of Mr. Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. He recruited Ms. Jennifer Mason in her role as one of two amazing Walt Disney World Ambassadors. 

Out on Main Street, USA, the flag visited with Guest Relations Cast Members

As Ambassador, Ms. Mason helps represent over 64,000 Cast Members working (and playing) at Walt Disney World.  She so kindly said that she, “had the honor of taking your Dad’s Flag to the Magic Kingdom and share your story with many of the Cast Members on Main Street, USA.” Mason, a military child in her own right, went above and beyond to host Our Dad’s Flag. Our eternal thanks for making the visit so special!

With the lovely Belle & Cinderella

Miss Barbara, Fire truck driver at WDW

The Disney theme parks are incredible to begin with, but add in their dedication to military families . . . they are out of this world! Our thanks to Mr. Staggs and the Disney Parks for offering discounts to military families and  to the awesome Shades of Greenmilitary hotel located on Disney property. During our visit we had the priviledge of meeting Ms. Mason and her fellow Ambassador (and Jedi guy) Norman Vossschulte, thanked them in person.

Walt Disney World is a place that values American Forces, respects and honors America with each flag raising and retreat and finely represents America’s Main Street, USA.  Thank you Ms. Jennifer Mason for such a VIP experience for Our Dad’s Flag!

Next Up…

So what would Phineas & Ferb recommend we feature next? Perhaps a visit to the worlds largest ball of stamps? Maybe going green with  a Hollywood hot shot? Perhaps help build a koala habitat? Who knows. Our Dad’s Flag is always finding a good way to spend it’s time promoting support for our troops.

Thanks for reading and sharing our family project in patriotism. Feel free to share. Tweet it. Facebook it. Forward it. Love it.

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A Final US Open Rally

Our thanks to USTA’s Robin Jones and best wishes for her son’s homecoming!

Our Dad’s Flag visit to the U.S. Open was amazing! Hopefully next year when Our Dad is back we’ll get down to the stadium for Arthur Ashe’s Kids Day and see some great matches as well. We thank Ms. Robin Jones for her hospitality while attending the matches in Flushing Meadows, NY and for her great work with military families, veterans and wounded warriors in her role with the USTA. This “Blue Star Mother” has much more excitement in store beyond the final rally of the Open . . . she’s now preparing to welcome her son home from his tour in Afghanistan.  Our family wishes Ms. Jones and her family all the best and a happy homecoming to all! Thank you all for YOUR service!

One Last Rally

The US Open winds up today in a match between the U.K.’s Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic of Serbia. We’ll be tuning in as our own little redheaded boy cheers on Murray while his grandmother cheers for Djokovic. Also, Congratulations to American Serena Williams on her US Open title!

We couldn’t pass this day of the Open final without thanking all of the great friends, players and members of the USTA for participating in Our Dad’s Flag especially Andy Roddick, Ryan McIntosh, and:

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US Open & Military Appreciation

Andy Roddick & Ryan McIntosh, Army Specialist and “Ball Boy.” Photo by Ron Angle.

As of this morning, there are 2 American single players remaining in the U.S. Open, Williams and Roddick. Our Dad’s Flag has had some great USTA visits but who knew our visit with Andy Roddick had an even more magnificent story behind it?! When we first posted the news of Our Dad’s Flag with Roddick we had no idea that the picture we received of him and his “U.S. Open Friend” was with a soldier and so much more . . .

Ryan McIntosh is an Army active duty amputee who is serving as a ball person at the US Open — a wounded warrior currently making $7.75 per hour as part of the action and is an inspiration for all. In his regular duties, Ryan is an adaptive sports coordinator in the Army, helping wounded soldiers survive and recover through sports. According to our USTA sources, Andy Roddick asked to meet Ryan after his press conference — announcing his career retirment (!) — and then thanked Ryan for his service and presented him with a US Open watch.  Robin Jones, USTA National Military Programs and Facilities Consultant, says it was a very touching moment.

Specialist Ryan McIntosh lost his leg, mid-shin, when he stepped on a land mine near Kandahar, Afghanistan two years ago. Back at home, his family including his young pregnant wife probably displayed their own Blue Star Service Flags.

In his recovery and with an incredible spirit, this purple heart recipient now participates in the Warrior Games, Olympic-style competitions for wounded veterans. He is also part of the USTA Military Outreach program.

Throwing Greneades = Tossing Tennis Balls

Roddick & McIntosh with Our Dad’s Flag. Photo courtesy of R. Jones.

In the latest match, Ryan was the ball boy in Serena Williams’ unheralded 6-0, 6-0 score against Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova.   This ball boy retrieved and more imporantly threw — since greneade throwing is a skill set — with great ability and precision required on the court. Our nation should be honored and thrilled Ryan McIntosh is  part of the Open.  For more information about Ryan read about him in the Washington PostNew York Daily News or just Google his name and see how this special story has gained international attention.

Our 2 remaining American single players (including soon-to-retire Roddick) will soon walk out on the courts, hoping for another title. For Ryan McIntosh, the day he walked the fields of Afghanistan, he gained his own title, “Warrior.” Let’s all never take a day for granted walking on the grounds of democracy and freedom. Ryan, thank you for being such an incredible source of inspriation — and a very special husband and dad too!  

Military Appreciation Day at the U.S. Open

We’re cheering for Andy Roddick at home and enjoying all the 2012 US Open!

Yesterday was a special day at the Open where wounded warriors and armed forces enjoyed tennis were appreciated! The USTA is an incredible organization who pays particular attention to military families and returning soldiers. Our host, Ms. Robin Jones plays a pivotal role in the programs for the military and we encourage you to check out their programs, spread the word and know that Tennis – via the U.S. Open – and all programs, make America great! Read their Summer 2012 Military Outreach Newsletter and visit their special USTA Military pages on the web.

Unfortunately, the weather might rain out some of the matches at the Open on Tuesday, September 4th. But our home team is cheering for Andy Roddick. Good luck and thanks again to you, Ryan McIntosh, Robin Jones and all the great folks at the USTA for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag!

Thanks for reading and following Our Dad’s Flag as it travels in support of our troops and promotes patriotism.  Pass it on, tweet all about it and enjoy the rest of the Open!

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Games, Sets, Matches

The end of summer is marked by the annual United States Open tennis tournaments held at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in Forest Hills, NY. Currently underway, the Open is sure to please all tennis enthusiasts, and even to date, it’s won our family over for more reasons than just the opportunity to watch players give some grand slamming performances. We love the Open even more now because Our Dad’s Flag is sitting courtside to the matches.

Tennis champ Andy Roddick and US Open friend with Our Dad’s Flag at 2012 Open. Happy Birthday Andy and thanks for the amazing tennis memories!

30-Love: Happy Birthday and Impending Retirment Andy

 At home we have heavy hearts with the breaking news of Andy Roddick’s impending retirement following the current U.S. Open. An American tennis player who took home the Open title in 2003, a Grand Slam great and a No. 1 World Champion continued to charm the crowds in years since. He says he would never trade a day away from his 13 years of greatness in tennis. We thank him for this one, special day – his 30th birthdaythe day when he announced his upcoming retirement from tennis – and the day when he took the time to participate in Our Dad’s Flag. Thank you Andy Roddick. Thank you.

Greg Bishop of The New York Times reported, following the announcement of Roddick’s pending retirement that, “the most visible, most successful, most colorful American men’s tennis player in the past decade, the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title, stamped his career with an official expiration date. His departure will shut the door on another era of American men’s tennis.”

Tune in Friday night (August 31st) to see Andy Roddick play his second-round match. To read more about Andy Roddick’s amazing tennis career read Roddick to retire after 2012 US Open by senior writer Erin Bruehl.

Our Thanks to a Smashingly Special Blue Star Mom

This is the first report of what might be a few while Our Dad’s Flag attends the Open. The flag is currently being hosted by the amazing Robin Jones, United  States Tennis Association National Military Programs and Facilities Consultant. We’ll have more on her and the incredible contributions to the US Military and their families made by the USTA in future posts. But for now, we need to thank her! It must be known that Ms. Jones is a proud Blue Star Flag bearer herself – her own son is currently serving in Afghanistan. Godspeed to him and all our troops.

As always, Our Dad’s Flag is not just a flag for “Our Dad” but for all Dads, Moms, Sons, Daughters, Husbands, Wives, Brothers, Sisters, etc . . . Our Dad’s Flag is just one small, handmade flag for all, because aren’t the Armed Forces, all for one? God Bless America and our troops. Thank you Ms. Jones, and America thanks your son!

Need More Open?

No worries! Log on to the official US Open website and catch the matches on the variety of channels including CBS, CBS Sports Network, Tennis Channel, and ESPN2.  

School Daze

We’re entering the final few days of summer vacation . . . “and school comes along just to end it.” (Yep, we’ll get to those cartoon fellas soon.)  Our kids have their school supplies, lunchbags and (Agent P) backpacks ready! So with that said, and with more U.S. Open excitement to come, stay tuned for some end of summer fun! Thanks for reading and following. If you’re not signed up as an email or Twitter follower let’s get a rally going – sign up and post a comment! We’d love to hear from you.

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The Moon and a Star

In Memory : Neil Alden Armstrong, 1930-2012

Our Dad’s Flag remembers Astronaut Neil Armstrong, August 25, 2012.

When Our Dad listed the numerous people that he most admires he included Neil Armstrong, the famous American Astronaut who made one small step . . . as the first human on the moon on the surface known as the Sea of Tranquility. Our Mom and the children knew he would be an ideal host for Our Dad’s Flag as he fit criteria on so many levels: 1. He’s one of Our Dad’s most admired – celebrating 50 years since he was transferred to Astronaut status, 2. He made tremendous contributions to American history and space exploration, 3. He’s a well respected veteran of the Korean War.

Over the past six months or so we’ve approached many great Americans and institutions to host Our Dad’s Flag. It is with much regret that our attempts to recruit Neil Armstrong through NASA were fruitless but the good folks there were kind enough to return the flag and include a great portrait of the famed astronaut along with his bio and some Apollo stickers. Today, Our Dad’s Flag honors the memory of America’s great Astronaut, Neil Alden Armstrong: A Dad. An American icon. A hero.

Wishing him an eternal sea of tranquility.

From Earth to the Moon

Tom Hanks with Our Dad’s Flag behind the scenes at the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

How does one segue into an Our Dad’s Flag visit while mourning the loss of a great American? Well, we can only think of one flag host who has shown artistic light on the accomplishments of those such as Neil Armstrong and other space explorers in From Earth to the Moon and Apollo 13, as well as so many great works in tribute to all those service men and women in the World War via Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, The Pacific, etc… Our family behind the scenes of Our Dad’s Flag would like to thank Mr. Tom Hanks for taking the time to support Our Dad – and all the service men and women of the Armed Forces serving so far from home.  

Our Dad’s Flag met up with Mr. Hanks behind the scenes of the 84th Annual Academy Awards® held in Los Angeles. Tom Hanks is not only a two time Oscar® recipient,  but nominated another 3 times and has a collection of other great awards including Golden Globes and  Emmys . . . just to name a few.  Our incredible thanks to Ms. Cheryl Marshall of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of for her continued support of our family project in patriotism. Cheryl: from Our Mom and the kids – thank you for your support and friendship. Without you . . . we wouldn’t have been able to meet Mr. Hanks and – quite literally – thank the Academy!

We look forward to many more great works coming from Mr. Hanks including his dabble in the animated sci-fi internet series on Yahoo entitled Electric City, upcoming film Cloud Atlas and his work on and independent film about the assasination of President John F. Kennedy.

We’ve Got Your 6

So we’ve got your 6, Mr. Hanks. Thank you for being such a wonderful artist, talented writer, director, and everyman of wonderful world of motion picture arts and beyond. Your photo with Our Dad’s Flag at the Oscars® is currently in Afghanistan with Our Dad, being shared among the soldiers who need a smile knowing that someone like you has got their 6. (For more information on the  “Got Your 6″ campaign led by the entertainment industry to help create a new conversation in America, one where veterans and military families are perceived as both leaders and civic assets visit http://www.gotyour6.org/)

104 Days of Summer Vacation

The days of summer vacation for Our kids is winding down. School’s back in session soon in our neck of the woods and the next Flag visit might be a bit fitting tribute to all that summer vacation is good for and why it’s awesome to be young and find a good way to spend it. (It will also give you more reasons to love your friendly neighborhood platypus.) If you don’t understand any of these hints, you’re simply not in the demographics, but our kids LOVED this flag visit so stayed tuned for the next episode…

Thanks for reading and sharing. Be sure to sign up as an email follower and/or spread the cheer and good will.  

 “OSCAR®,” “OSCARS®,” “ACADEMY AWARD®,” “ACADEMY AWARDS®,” “OSCAR NIGHT®,” “A.M.P.A.S.®” and the “Oscar” design mark are trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Olympic Endings & Beginnings

Our Dad’s Flag Ambassador Keith Bryant of the USOC with the flag at the Olympic “cauldron.”

With the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games the flaming-petals of the Olympic cauldron were extinguished.  Members of Team USA along with their friends, families and U.S. Olympic Committee supporters have once again jumped the pond, back home. With the exception of Michael Phelps’ retirement, this is not necessarily the end for many athletes — it is the beginning of training toward the road to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Congratulations to all and best of luck!

We were honored that Our Dad’s Flag was escorted to the games in London by dear friends from the Olympic Training Center, CO. Here are some “final game night” pictures of Our Dad’s Flag from the Olympic Stadium.

Our Dad’s Flag attending the last night of Track and Field events of the 2012 Olympic Summer Games.

227 Awesome and Able Athletes, 19 Sports, 11 days

With the official Summer Olympics at an end, it’s now time for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London to kick off on August 29th. While Our Dad’s Flag visited the training center in Colorado, it got to meet with some of these awesome — and able — athletes. Thank you all for participating in Our Dad’s Flag to support Our Dad and all those serving in the Armed Forces far from home. We wish you and all of our Paralympic Teams representing the USA the best of luck in the upcoming games.

Myles Porter, Team USA Paralympic Judo with Our Dad’s Flag.

Paralympic Swimmer Tucker Dupree with Our Dad’s Flag. Visit http://www.tuckerdupree.com for more info on him!

Dartanyon Crockett of USA Judo at the Training Center with Our Dad’s Flag.

Wounded Warriors Compete

According to the USOC, the Paralympic team will also include 20 U.S. military veterans and active duty service members, some of whom were wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Navy Lieutenant Bradley Snyder, who lost his vision in September 2011 while serving in Afghanistan, is among the American athletes with military ties. Snyder is slated to compete in swimming on the one year anniversary of his injury.

By association, one paralympic athlete has his own affinity for the military — especially for his brother serving with the U.S. Army. USA Judo Myles Porter (seen above) wanted to join his brother Mykel in the Army but was preempted by his visual impairment. Instead, he now works with wounded members of the military helping them adjust to a physically disabled life. Expected to take gold in the games, keep a look out for Myles, and be inspired. Take the time to read this wonderful post about Myles and his brother Pfc. Mykel Heberling on Today’s Army Live (http://armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/2012/07/myles-porter/)

True Olympic Spirit

Visit the USA Paralympic team site for more information on these great athletes who posess true Olympic spirit (especially our new friends Dartanyon, Tucker and Myles!). According to the USOC there will be broadcast and online coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games via daily video highlights on the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel and some coverage through NBCUniversal. Be sure to check out their website and YouTube channel for inspiring stories of these great Americans. The Paralympic games will take place in the same arenas as the Olympics in London and go from August 29 – September 9, 2012.

Thanks for reading from the beginning to the end. Be sure to share our family project in patriotism and if you need a refresher on the why and how of Our Dad’s Flag visit How It Works. If we get more fun behind the scenes photos from London will be sure to post them in our Special Report: Our Dad’s Flag & Team USA. A head’s up for the next posting: can you guess who Our Dad’s Flag met behind the scenes at the Oscars?!?!? We have an exciting follow-up report on We’d Like to Thank The Academy !!!

 

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