The photo here brings back a memory of my childhood. My grandfather, Sidney Garfield Hicks, came to America from England to seek his fortune back in the early 20th century. Coming through Ellis Island, he settled in Kansas City, Kansas, and soon sent for his young bride, Lily, and infant son, Sidney Jr. And here he lived for over 50 years, raising a family of seven children and 20 grandkids. During WWII, he proudly planted a Victory Garden and became an American citizen. His two sons fought in the war.
When we visited, Grandpa Hicks would gather all us kids around the flagpole in his front yard each morning for the flagraising. There with his spaniel, Freckles, who usually wore a colorful bandana for the occasion, we would all say the Pledge of Allegiance next to our grandfather. At the end of the day, we would take down the flag, careful not to let it touch the ground. Under his supervision, we would fold it like the military servicemen do: neatly, edge over edge into a perfect triangle, and carry the beloved flag back into the house until tomorrow, when the sun would rise, and we'd do it again.
I can picture Grandma standing at the front screen door with the "H" on the grille, wearing her apron and waiting to make us all a cup of proper English tea (NEVER with tea bags, only loose tea would do).
In the summer of 2007, I visited my cousin Becky in Joplin, Missouri. As we drove down the road, here was this bronze statue of children saying the pledge of allegiance with their dog. There was David and me, maybe Joe and John or Becky, and of course Freckles, proud Americans all.
Today, most of my cousins have a flag on a tall flagpole in our front yards, harking back to that special moment in our childhoods, when our Grandpa and Freckles taught us what it means to be an American. Tomorrow, on inauguration day, I hope everyone stops for a moment and thanks their God for the freedoms we enjoy, and prays for the promise of a bright future for America.