Northwest NEWS

June 7, 1999


Does that star spangled banner yet wave...?

   As a young mother in the late 1980s, I attended a leadership training weekend at a Boy Scout camp in northern California. It was there that I tried to prepare myself to help young boys learn skills to last a lifetime.

   I could barely tie a square knot, much less a bowline. Nonetheless, I accepted the challenge of working with the physical, spiritual, and mental development of these young men-to-be. I was going to be a guardian in their growth and maturity, teaching them about love for God and country. It was one scout, instead, who taught me, as we stood at attention for evening colors.

   I never knew him by name, but I could hear him laughing and running through the wooded hillside. He called out to his friends, his fellow scouts, to follow him. There were adventures to go on, new things to learn, new places to see. He was our future. Our best and brightest. A shining young face full of enthusiasm and love of life. He wore his uniform proudly, a symbol of unity and shared commaraderie ... esprit de corps. Life was teeming with ideas and rich possibilities ... yes, and definitely worth living.

   At this Boy Scout camp, so many memories were sewn, and human beings were knit together in the fabric of life. Now the flag was lowered in all solemnity against the cool evening shadows. This, a final tribute to a son who gave his life in service to the country he loved. For it was the gift of his parents to donate this flag pole in the loving memory of their scout who never made it home from Vietnam. He, who proudly served his country and made the everlasting sacrifice, will always walk the hillside with us at this heavenly retreat, where youth flourishes, and ideals are formed.

   Does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, thank God, it does.

Helen Carey Hart, Bothell