Saluting Old Glory not faded memory

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It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, but of a history.

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– Woodrow Wilson

It’s Flag Day across America and here’s my quirkiest story about Old Glory.

Thanks to former Congressman Doug Barnard I have an official U.S. flag that flew (briefly) over the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 17, 1984.

I have a nice letter from the congressman, one of my all-time favorites, attesting to that fact.

Now here’s the odd thing. I don’t know why I have the flag.

The congressman doesn’t know why he got me the flag.

And the guys who asked him for it – members of The Chronicle’s former Washington Bureau – don’t remember why they did it, either.

All this forgetfulness makes more sense when I reveal I didn’t actually get the flag until the 1990s, nearly a decade after it came down from its Capitol flag pole, and after Mr. Barnard had left office.

One of our former Washington reporters – either John Sorrells or John Carter – said he found the flag and the letter when he was moving. So he mailed it to Georgia.

When I called to thank them and ask what the significance of that date was, nobody could remember. They also couldn’t remember why they decided to get it for me.

No matter. I treasure its symbolism and the kindness many showed to provide it. I salute you all, and it, every day.

YOUR MAIL: Ed Groover sends a postcard from Santa Barbara, Calif. “Enjoying a reunion with some of my U.S. Navy compatriots of times past,” he writes.

TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one from Richie Russell in Johnston, S.C.

It seems a couple is dressed and ready to go out for the evening. They call a cab, turn on the outdoor light, cover their pet parakeet and put the cat in the backyard.

The taxi arrives and they open the front door to leave. Using great agility, the cat sneaks into the front yard and bolts into the house. They don’t want the cat to pester the bird while they’re out, so the husband goes back in to chase it while the wife waits in the taxi.

The cat runs upstairs with the man in hot pursuit.

The wife doesn’t want the driver to know the house will be empty, so she explains that her husband went upstairs to say goodbye to her mother.

A minute or two later, the husband gets into the cab and the driver takes off.

“Sorry I took so long,” he says as they drive away. “She was hiding under the bed. I had to poke her with a coat hanger to get her to come out!

Then, I had to wrap her in a blanket to keep her from scratching me. But it worked! I took her back downstairs and threw her out into the backyard!”

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Connor Threlkeld
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Connor Threlkeld 06/13/13 - 07:22 pm
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I have a friend who worked

I have a friend who worked for a congresswoman from Illinois in her DC office a few years ago, taking calls from constituents and giving tours of the Capitol building, things like that. On a whim, I asked him, weeks before my son was born, if he could get a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol on the same day he came into the world. Usually, you put in a request through your congressman, wait weeks and weeks, and get one that, at some point, flew over the Capitol. You're not always guaranteed a specific date. You definitely can't call up and request one be flown the same day. He knows the guys that did the flag work, so I called him when my son was born, and he made it happen. Complete with a certificate from the Architect of the Capitol stating the date it flew and why it was requested. I'm generally no big fan of Congress, but it's a great symbol and memento from the date.

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