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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“Flag-thlete” in London & More Team USA

Looking well-rested, fresh faced and on top of the world the day after their 2012 Olympic Medal wins, these greats of Track & Field took time to participate in Our Dad’s Flag live in London. Our thanks to Dave McDaniel, an Army veteran himself, for taking this photo in the athlete village, on the way to their interviews for NBC’s TODAY show.

Team USA 2012 Medalists: Kellie Wells (bronze-Women’s 100m hurdles), Dawn Harper (silver-Women’s 100m hurdles) and Leo Manzano (silver-Men’s 1500m) with Our Dad’s Flag in the Athlete Village, London.

We are honored to have been in the company of the high hurdling gals Kellie Wells (bronze medalist) and Dawn Harper (silver medalist) who raced and owned the 100m Hurdles with unmatched style and enthusiasm. Then there’s that awesome and sooo sneaky Leo Manzano — who took a steady-pace approach to the Men’s 1500m race, hanging toward the back of the pack — until that last lap where he made an amazing break away, sprinted like lightning and secured another silver medal for Team U.S.A.! (Our son is still chanting “Go Lee-o! Go Lee-o!” and our daughter is diggin’ Kellie’s hair color! And thanks to Dawn, both kids are jumping a proped-up broomstick in the living room!) Thank you all for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag, we hope you enjoy your new Olympic bling. Go Team U.S.A.!

All in the Family

Brother and sister Olympians Steven and Diane Lopez, 2012 Team USA Tae Kwon Do, with Our Dad’s Flag

Stay tuned to the Olympic Games for the Tae Kwon Do preliminary and medal rounds and keep a special lookout for Diana (57 kg) and Steven (80 kg) Lopez, the brother and sister members of Team U.S.A. (Here they are pictured with Our Dad’s Flag while it was in “Flag-thlete” training at the Olympic Training Center.) Steven is a three time Olympian and two time gold medalist while Diane took the Bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games. Another Olympian sibling will join them at the 2012 games – their brother Mark who will serve as a training buddy for Steven and their other brother Jean is their coach. Keeping it all in the family is worth it’s weight in gold.

Our thanks to Steven and Diane and best wishes in the Games! Our Mom‘s sure that the kids will be suiting up in their yellow-stripe belts and practicing their strikes, blocks and kicks come go-time!

More Special Reports

We updated more of the Special Report: Our Dad’s Flag and Team U.S.A. so please be sure to check it out, especially if you like gymnastics and wrestling. Plus, there’s a behind-the-scenes look at WHO (and there are many) makes the Olympic Training Center in Colorado so special!

London is Still Calling

We are pleased that so many folks have checked in with our patriotic project – Our Mom‘s gotta admit, the Team U.S.A. postings have generated the biggest “ratings” the Our Dad’s Flag blog has had since the beginning of this patriotic project. It’s no wonder because the Olympics are a time of pride and wonder — these athletes are so wonderful and inspirational to soo many – let’s not forget to mention how awesome is Team U.S.A.?! We have more London coming up and more Olympic Training Center visits too. So stay tuned. Thanks for reading about the patriotic travels of Our Dad’s Flag!  If you enjoy it share it. 

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Team USA Sailing & U.S. Navy SEALs

Our Dad’s Flag with (l to r) Graham Biehl, Rob Crane & Trevor Moore, US Olympic Sailing Team.

In pursuit of a good regatta, the 16 member 2012 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team is afloat and cruising at the Olympic Sailing Venue in Weymouth, U.K. Our Mom’s gotta admit, she’s out of her league on any reports on this Olympic sport – RSX, Radial, 49er, Finn, 470, SKUD, etc.?! Oh my! Sailing is like another language to this land-locked family so we’ll do our best to give these sailors all their props (hoists and rigging?) needed. Our thanks again to Sherry Von Riesen of the Olympic Training Center for hooking Our Dad’s Flag to the sails of these great Olympians and developing teams as they trained in Colorado Springs, CO. 

Our Dad’s Flag with members of the 2012 US Olympic Sailing Team along with younger Development members.

One thing we learned through our friends at the Olympic Training Center is the importance of grassroots programs where younger, junior teams are trained with senior teams.  Sailing is one of those programs that spans the ages. In this photo of the U.S. Sailing group with Our Dad’s Flag you’ll note some 2012 Olympians alongside some of the younger up-and-coming crew. The return-on-investment? Future Olympic medals of course! Be sure to check out the bios of the U.S. Olympic Sailing team and see which 2012 Team members you can spot in this photo that support Our Dad and all those serving in the Armed Forces. Our thanks to such great skippers and crew, et. al.!

For more comprehensive facts on this team, download the PDF fact sheet, Did You Know Olympic Facts about the 2012 U.S. Sailing Team.  

Training with the U.S. Navy SEALs – the Real Deal

US Navy Seals at the Olympic Training Center with Olympic Swimming Great Summer Sanders.

So, just when these sailing specialists thought they knew from training as members of the U.S. Olympic Sailing and Development Teams . . . then the U.S. Navy SEALs show up to provide some extra training. This first-of-its-kind visit may have put a bit of wind in the team sails — or just left the teams well-winded — but well worth it! Check out this You Tube video from the U.S. Sailing Teams being trained by the U.S. Navy SEALs.

Our thanks to the U.S. Sailing Team and Development Team for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag and supporting our troops – no matter how bad the beat-down by the Navy SEALs! Remember, as the SEALs say, “The only easy day was yesterday!” Keep up the great work and here’s hoping you sail away from the 2012 games with great memories . . . and maybe some medals! For more information on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Teams, members and great up-to-date blogs and videos, visit http://olympics.ussailing.org/team/

Stayed Tuned

This has been busy work keeping up with the Olympic Training Center visits! We hope you’ve enjoyed it and that you’ll keep on reading. Next up some wrestling and triathalon tid bits and some awesome paralympic highlights — all in support of all those service men and women and their families who proudly hang a blue star service flag. To all of the teams of the U.S.A., we salute you!

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Even More: Team USA

 First off, we have to acknowledge the Olympic Great, Michael Phelps for being part of Our Dad’s Flag during this definitive – and awesome – season of his swimming career. 22 medals, 18 gold. Thank you Michael for the years of shock and awe – the wonder of you as an athlete, for being such a great role model our children, and for supporting Our Dad’s Flag for all of those serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.

The Other Queen in England

On Sunday, Quanitta “Queen” Underwood will be part of the huge win in the big fight of getting the approval to debut Women’s Boxing in the Summer Olympic Games. She will be the first American woman to enter the ring as one of 36 female fighters from the world over taking part in Olympic history — regardless of medaling. Queen will make her Olympic appearance in the Lightweight category taking on British Natasha Jonas. Maybe it’s time for another Queen — in England.   

Queen Underwood, USA Boxing, with Our Dad’s Flag

We thank Queen for being such a proud American, a trailblazer, and for taking part in Our Dad’s Flag. Sure, she’s considered a lightweight but what an incredible heavyweight role model for soo many. We also thank her for her incredible fortitude and transparency in helping others heal and dominate.  For so much more and then some about paying it forward, read more about Queen and the special attendance of her sister – against, many, but not all odds – debut at Strangers’ gifts send boxer Queen Underwood’s sister to London | Olympics | The Seattle Times.

More Team USA coming your way sooner than later. Stay tuned, we’re working on the great company that Our Dad’s Flag has kept with Team USA Sailing as they have currently set sail and Team USA Wrestling hitting the mats too. So much excitement, so much Olympic spirit in our house as we support all the American teams who have supported Our Dad and ALL of the troops! Go Team USA!

Thanks so much for reading! If you’re not already following, sign up! Become a follower via email using the link to the right or sign up via Twitter.

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More with Team USA

Our Kids Art Cheering for Team USA

There have been some awesome Olympic events going on in London these past few days. Here at home, we’re so excited to watch, cheer and celebrate for all the athletes and especially Team USA. Our kids headed out to summer camp this morning dressed for the theme: Olympic Day. Our 7-year-old daughter dressed as a member of the Women’s Team USA Gymnastics with glitter in her hair and our 6-year old son was decked out in swim trunks, USA t-shirt and gold medal around his neck – as a little redheaded Michael Phelps.  ***Olymic Update 7-31-12: Mom thinks the camp Olympic Day costumes sent some good vibes  out to London – o.k., maybe it’s just a concidence or their lifetimes of training – today the Women’s Gymnastics took All Around Gold and Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history today.  Congratulations to all! Go Team USA!

Different Strokes

We’ve been honored to have Our Dad’s Flag visit with some of these past and present swimming greats along with upcoming notables. We love that Our Dad’s Flag ambassador Sherry Von Riesen is pictured below with the Berkley Swim Team, 5 of their members qualified for the Games – namely 2012 medalist Nathan Adrian. UC Berkley is so well represented in the 2012 Olympic games with 45 student-athletes, alumni, coaches and campus-community members all over the games.

Call Me Maybe

You’ve probably seen it, but if not, celebrate the fun and frienship of Team USA Swimming in this fun version of “Call Me Maybe” by Carrly Rae Jepsen and click on this YouTube link. You may have to watch it a few times, look close, can you name all the Olympic Medalists to date rocking out in the video?!?!? More games, and medals, to come. Go Team USA!

Our Dad’s Flag-thlete

Thanks for reading. Need a refresher on why Our Dad’s Flag is out and about? Read up on How It Works. Get more info on our involvment with Team USA at our Special Report: Our Dad’s Flag with Team USA. Thanks for reading. Twitter or email – come follow us on this great adventure!

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Our Own “Flag-thlete” – Team USA

Our 6-year-old son holding Our Dad’s Flag official Olympic Training Center ID.

Check out how Our Dad’s Flag became a “Flag-thlete”  in the 2012 Summer Olympics with Team USA and some special folks at the Olympic Training Center. We’re giving you a special behind-the-scenes look at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado with our new page Special Report: Our Dad’s Flag. & Team USA. We have many more exciting visits with athletes to come and there are many more Olympic events to go! GO TEAM USA!

Read our new page dedicated to this visit and stay tuned to the NBC’s Olympics coverage. Be sure to keep rooting for Team USA – they’ve rooted for Our Dad’s Flag and all our service men and women. Oh yeah, aside from training for the Summer Games . . . the flag’s been busy on the west coast. More awesome flag visits to come… 

Thanks for reading and joining us on this awesome journey! Our Dad is rooting for the home team while deployed in Afghanistan and we can’t wait until he’s back on US soil training at home.

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Let The Games Begin!

Team USA is already in action across the pond in London as they enter the 17 days of the 2012 Olympic Games followed by the Paralympic Games. As the world comes together to compete with a total of 14,000 athletes, the family behind Our Dad’s Flag wish our home team all the best of luck in the games. GO TEAM USA!

Michael Phelps with Our Dad’s Flag

Our kids created a special version of Our Dad’s Flag that has spent the past few months at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Colorado Springs, CO in some very impressive company.  It’s been behind the scenes and with some familiar folks and new faces of the summer games who were happy to support military families by posing with Our Dad’s Flag. We’re rooting for Michael Phelps to become the most decorated Olympian in history. (We can’t wait to celebrate – only 3 more, go-ld for it!!) And we’re thrilled to show you some of the other Olympic friends we’ve made along the way.

John Orozco, USA Gymnastics, with Our Dad’s Flag

What could be better then training with these incredible athletes? Well…the flag is currently in London, AT THE GAMES!  “Jeah!” (a gratuitous nod to US swimmer Ryan Lochte.) This opportunity would not be possible without some incredible friends. Our most special thanks go out to Sherry Von Reisen, the ultimate Olympic house mother to the athletes at the OTC (her official title is Resident Athlete/Dorm Lead) and to Keith Bryant, Director of the Communications Division at the USOC. Thanks to Sherry and Keith and so many more great folks at the OTC for all their support of such great Olympic athletes, Our Dad and all those serving in the Armed Forces.

 The Teams, The Dreams

Team USA consists of two teams, chock full of patriotism, under one flag. The first Team USA will compete from July 27th – August 12th in the Olympic Games and the second, absolutely amazing Paralympic Team USA, will compete from August 29th – September 9th in their games, also held in London.

Donovan Ford, USA Weightlifting, at the OTC with Our Dad’s Flag

This experience for Our Dad’s Flag is SOOO HUGE that we’re going to start a new page featuring all of the visits at the OTC…and maybe some updates from the games in London. So please stay tuned and check back for the updates as we’ll be posting new photos and athlete info daily! This is such an honor that our Olympians and the folks who train and make it all possible for them – support our little project that means so much for our family and those throughout the US with a family member serving in the Armed Forces.

 Need more Team USA & Olympic Info?

Queen Underwood, USA Boxing, with Our Dad’s Flag

Be sure to tune into the Opening Ceremony of the Games of the 30th Olympiad on Friday, July 27th at 7:30 PM ET on NBC and then start your Olympic binge on day one packed with weightlifting, swimming, archery, judo, cycling and fencing. Follow http://www.nbcolympics.com/ for the complete coverage schedule and visit Team USA (www.teamusa.org) for complete bios on these rising and star athletes and to learn more on how you can support them.

Thanks for Bearing Our Torch

Our family would like to thank Team Weindel for their incredible link to Team USA. We are forever grateful for your friendship. As for you awesome readers, thank you so much for following our family project in patriotism. You know what to do…just like the Olympic Torch is passed on from bearer to the next…pass our story on. Encourage fans to sign up as a follower and cheer for the other USA team, our service men and women. Definitely check back for more exciting updates from Our Dad’s Flag visit with Team USA! Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. 

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Elmo: Forever Young

 Our furry friend Elmo has played a huge role in our family and in the history of Our Dad’s Flag. He’s been with us since the beginning: in his stuffed version for hugging the day we informed the children that Our Dad would be deploying, he joined us on New Year’s Eve when we watched him on Sesame Street’s “Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families During Military Deployment” and in his Tickle Me! version, he helped introduce our first Our Dad’s Flag visit with Remember the Elmo! Or something like that.

“Our Dad’s Flag would like to thank Elmo and Mr. Kevin Clash!”

Most recently Elmo appeared, on a DVD, in our mailbox to return Our Dad’s Flag after a visit to Sesame Street and more importantly with his other half, Mr. Kevin Clash. With today’s post, we will forever remember the forever-young Elmo and his Muppeteer Kevin Clash for hosting Our Dad’s Flag in support of all those in the armed forces and their families. It’s so nice to know that Elmo loves us!

Evolution of Man and Monster

At an early age, Kevin Clash realized his dream of becoming a puppeteer. His affinity for fuzzy friends blossomed during the period of unique children’s television programs in the early 70s. During this time, The Magical World of Disney was in full force and the melting pot neighborhood of Sesame Street was introduced as “experimental television.”

Clash grew up in Baltimore and his role models included Jim Henson, Frank Oz and Kermit Love. Through hard work, perseverance, dedication and the pursuit of his own happiness, Clash eventually found out how to get to Sesame Street. He has worked with all of the pros and climbed the fleece ladder of success. Today he works his dream job(s!) by being Elmo, bringing smiles, hugs and Elmo kisses to children around the world — especially the ones who need it the most. 

Just like life, a puppet is what you make it

Kevin’s story is remarkable. Sure, Our Mom can keep writing and retelling stories she’s read about him but it would deny you some of the true inspiration that comes through when you watch Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, a film by Constance Marks. This is not pre-school fare, it features a real-life evolution of what can happen when life throws you a muppet. (If you have yet to see it, go rent it on Netflix or download it on iTunes . . . now, seriously, right now!  Also, buy the DVD. Actually, buy a few. Keep the extra copies on hand to give to a young adult lacking direction, or a friend who maybe lost their way in life and challenge them by saying, “See if you can get something out of this…” You’ll understand the importance of that line when you see the documentary!)

Kevin Clash is an award winning performer and director and was recently awarded the 2012 Emmy for best performer in a children’s series (Sesame Street.) According to Sesame Workshop, this award is his 21st overall Emmy (eighth as a performer and his fourth in a row in the category.) In 2006, Clash released an autobiography My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud.

Clash and Elmo play an integral role in the Sesame Workshop’s support of military families. Elmo’s presence is felt with every emotion on the Sesame Street for Military Families Facebook page, he’s helping families connect at Families Near and Far and stars in the Talk Listen Connect tool kits. The dedication and work of all at Sesame Street in support of military families is incredible.

 Simply put, Kevin Clash defines Elmo as love. Elmo’s third person personality is a wonderful combination of the excitement and wonder of a forever 3 ½ year old child, the love of family and friends, wrapped up in red fur, and smothered with hugs and kisses.  Thank you to Mr. Clash for so many years of Elmo’s love.  We should all be so lucky to stay forever young doing what we love and making a difference. “Hugs.”

So go out and love your goldfish and crayons too. Thanks for reading. Our Dad’s Flag is a tribute for all military families — active, guard and reserve service members, wounded warriors, families and veterans — so be sure to tell others about this project by sharing this, tweeting all about it and/or liking us on Facebook.   

Photo with Our Dad’s Flag is courtesy of Sesame Workshop. Elmo character and name are trademarks of Sesame Workshop.

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Happy Anniversary America

Happy belated 4th of July! This month we do lots of celebrating: our country’s independence, many birthdays of friends and family members, and anniversaries — especially the wedding anniversary of “Our Dad” and “Our Mom.” But enough about them, let’s get to an exciting flag visit and wish a happy 200th Anniversary to the start of a little event in 1812 that changed our nation. The most cherished perk of that event? The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Key Scott.   

On the Main Hatch of USS Constitution.

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Happy Anniversary to the War of 1812!

Our Dad’s Flag on board with SN D. Duran and the ships bell.

Boston recently celebrated the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 during it’s Fleet Week where many naval ships from the US and countries beyond gathered. On July 4th, the USS Constitution, America’s Ship of State, took part in the special celebrations with a 19-gun salute in Boston Harbor in a patriotic display of heritage, dedication to naval traditions and promise for the future of our armed forces. Our Dad’s Flag recently visited this esteemed vessel and our family is thrilled to report on it. 

CDR Matthew J. Bonner, USN, is the 72nd Commanding Officer of the USS ConstitutionOur Dad’s Flag paid him a visit on board the awesome naval ship and we are privileged for this honor. During his Naval career, CDR Bonner has deployed numerous times and his own family is quite familiar with the honor of hanging a blue star service flag.  As the Commander wrote in his letter to our children, “… (the flag) is a reminder of the sacrifices made not only by the service member but also those who remain at home.” 

Our thanks to CDR Matthew J. Bonner and crew for their incredible support of our family project in patriotism. We thank them and all the branches of the armed forces for their service oe’r the land of the free and keeping the US as the home of the brave.

 Old Ironsides – An Oldie but a Goodie

According to the official website of the USS Constitution, it is the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, whose purpose is to promote the United States Navy and America’s naval heritage through educational outreach, public access and historic demonstrations, in port and underway. Known as Old Ironsides for it’s durability through many battles, visit their site and read more for an incredibly comprehensive history on the ship and it’s numerous battles, along with it’s extensive restoration and visit USS Constitution Museum .

Ship-To-Ship Combat

Action between USS Constitution and HMS Guerriere, 19 August 1812 by A. Fischer.

The USS Constitution played an early victory role in the War of 1812 when it took on the HMS Guerriere, a British frigate. The Constitution was making way through the British shipping route when it encountered the Guerriere. It was a gun-to-gun battle with the Constitution strong-arming the British ship that had less guns. They exchanged broadside shots along with musket fighting and under the command of Captain Issac Hull and Commodore John Rodgers the Constitution – later nicknamed Old Ironsides – fouled the Guerriere and victory was theirs.

This is just one of the victories that the USS Constitution was involved in.  For additional history the Naval History & Heritage Command. (Above painting by Anton Fischer, from the collection of the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. All other photos courtesy of  CDR Matthew J. Bonner, USN.)

Need More War?

Uh, of course not . . . let us rephrase that: need more on the War of 1812? Perhaps an introduction or a refresher? There’s really no compact nutshell to sum up the events of the War of 1812 but here goes: it was started by our rookie colony-based nation fed up with high seas bully tactics used by the very large, very strong naval fleet belonging to Great Britain. Meanwhile, the Brits were busy being bothered by a lil’ French pest named Napoleon Bonaparte and both sides had stirred up some maritime mayhem by restricting trade, e.g. supplies from the US. Borders were at risk as the British ruled Canada. The British anticipated spread into western territories on the American agenda so Native Americans were encouraged to resist their efforts. The numerous campaigns of the “small” war wrapped up two and a half years later.

Lots More to Come!

We are pleased that so many folks have climbed aboard our patriotic project. We have so many great flag visits coming up so you might need to keep a look out for more than one per week. We’ll be catching up now that Our Dad is done with his leave and back in Afghanistan, 6 months down, 6 more to go. Thanks for reading and we look forward to some more nautical visits by giving you a guiding light and maybe a goldfish too… (both good hints!) and then…we’ll have some of Olympic proportions and maybe some West Coast representation!

Thanks for reading about the travels of Our Dad’s Flag!  If you enjoy it share it. 

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Hail to the Chief

We at Our Dad’s Flag would like to send our thanks to the President, Mr. Stephen Colbert, of The Colbert Nation and all his folks at The Colbert Report for supporting the Our Dad’s Flag project.

He is the President of Colbert Nation, a wrangler of “truthiness”, as well as the host of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report, Colbert Super PAC leader and famed author of “I Am A Pole (And So Can You!)” as commented on by the late-great Maurice Sendak as “The sad thing is, I like it.” (P.S. Dad and Mom have agreed that there’s really no need for us to show our kids the page about the “dancer” pole page.)

Need more Colbert?

Tune in to Comedy Central. Log on to  www.colbertnation.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColbertReport  or @StephenAtHome (some trending topics #Colbert, #StephenColbert.)

It’s not something we totally planned on, but we feel inclined to share a chapter of our family history . . . Here’s a priceless moment as our family takes leave with “Our Dad” – he surprised the kids at the airport for his two week leave from Afghanistan. Mom can’t figure out the embedding so use this link: http://youtu.be/2l-JYqz-B5w

Again and again, and again, thanks for reading!  We are having a great time with our flag project and have so many incredible visits coming up … you must stay tuned!  Follow us via email, like us on Facebook (although mom’s still trying to figure that all out – help Mark Zuckerberg!) and get your most up-to-dates via tweet.

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Rock On . . . And On

Cleveland, OH Rocks

Our Dad’s Flag at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Rock on!!!

Cleveland does rock . . . and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is just the place to go for a rockin’ awesome time. Our Dad’s Flag recently hung out backstage and on stage at the famed mecca of rock and roll – where the most cherished treasures and fondest memories of rock are displayed and honored. Our special thanks to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum President & CEO Terry Stewart and the awesome communications/marketing interns Ellen Krantz and Kelly Terez for hosting Our Dad’s Flag and supporting our troops and all families that hang a blue star flag!

Your Backstage Pass

Our Dad’s Flag takes the Main Stage!

Think you know it all because you used to read Rolling Stone in college? Well, there’s a whole world of rock and roll knowledge out there at your finger tips and then when you find yourself in Cleveland, go see it all for yourself. In the meantime, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s website is your backstage pass that covers decades of music from the evolution of The Platters to the up-and-coming on the music scene. Want to be hip with the grandkids? Want to prove to your children or nieces & nephews why the 80’s were so awesome? Need some translations about what exactly is Lady Gaga’s orbit? Be on the pulse of the newest inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and subscribe to the RSS Feed or just visit the site and the blog and keep in time to the beat. 

Sight & Sound Tracks

On our virtual visit, sometimes Mom had to translate the content to the 7 and 5 year old’s levels of understanding… for example, “Do you remember that song from the movie Megamind that goes, (in their mom’s terrible singing voice), “Crazy, but that’s how it goes…’” or when Mom reminds them of the school talent show when the boy sang “All you need is love” . . . and they both started singing the refrain, smiling and nodding in agreement.  On the museum’s website we especially loved the Spotlight Artifacts Exhibit while mom tried to teach the important accompanying life-lessons:  

  •  Joey Ramone’s leather jacket – a quintessential part of any rock and roll wardrobe
  • AC/DC High School uniform/outfit – behave, or it’s boarding school!  
  • Handwritten lyrics by Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix – penmanship is so important
  • The Cub Scout shirt of Jim Morrison, The Doors  – “I, promise to do my best…”  
  • John Lennon’s Sgt. Pepper’s costume – military by design, with a twist of hipster
  • Michael Jackson’s singular bedazzled glove – yes, the 80’s were that awesome

The showdown of guitars ranging from Johnny Cash’s classic acoustic six string to the electric and equally eclectic choices of Joe Strummer from the Clash and Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain are a sight to see. But the hands down winner, according to our soon to be 6-year-old birthday boy (who asked for a “real rock and roll guitar” for his b-day!) is the awesome rectangular guitar played by none other than…Bo Diddley.

Riffs & RIP

Before Our Dad left for Afghanistan, we loaded up his iTouch with some great tunes, including some of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees’, The Beastie Boys. Rest in peace Adam Yauch.

More Rock, Less Blog

Enjoy this awesome PDF slideshow featuring more pictures and captions of Our Dad’s Flag visit to the Hall of Fame and Museum, courtesy of Ellen Krantz and Kelly Terez (click on the link below.)  Thanks from all of us at Our Dad’s Flag — Rock on!!! Rock Hall – Our Dad’s Flag

Detroit, MI:  Here’s A Rockin’ Bonus Flag Visit

Our thanks to Ted Nugent for always supporting the troops!

By direct request form the troops in Afghanistan – Our Dad’s Flag is proud to officially diagnose you all with a bit of Cat Scratch FeverOur Dad’s Flag was recently hosted by the famed rocker, activist, meat-hunting-and-eating, Ted Nugent. We were thrilled to fulfill Dad’s direct request for the flag to visit with him. Soo many of the troops are big fans of his and we’re thrilled to receive his support and bumper stickers!

Nugent has performed with the USO and gained a huge following by being a favorite with the troops. No wonder he made the list of “notables” for a visit with Our Dad’s Flag. Our thanks to Ted Nugent and all the folks at the “Official Community!” Visit Ted Nugent’s website for some great info and such…

Need More Nug?

Known for his hard guitar rock, meets straight edge, meets political call-it-as-you-see-it-ness, Ted Nugent possesses the a spirit of the real wild and outdoors. Aside from his incredible rock and roll experiences, he had dabbled in numerous outdoor reality television programs and is a published author of Guns and Rock ‘n’ Roll, BloodTrails II: The Truth About Bowhunting, Ted White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto, and co-authored Kill It and Grill It.

“Our Dad” says he’ll be home for Christmas…therefore, “Our Mom” has got to get a move on getting him a homecoming and Christmas present by ordering one of artist Michael Hunt’s poster prints that have been personally autographed by Hunt and Ted Nugent to benefit Freedom’s Angels. From Ted’s website (link):

“Our daily pursuit of happiness and the American Dream is provided by the sacrifices of our military heroes and their families. Our Freedom’s Angels charity, through the always generous giving by so many, is but one way we can give back to those who have given so much.” —Ted Nugent

Good Night Detroit!

So we’re off to celebrate the end of our little man’s Kindergarden year as he hits the big 6-years-old this week. We’ll post again next week . . . with a visit that might give you the warm and fuzzies — or the iron sides . . . we’re not sure which one yet. Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up next week on all the travels of Our Dad’s Flag! Play it loud, play it proud! Rock on and share our project with a friend.  

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Flag & Dad Days

Memo as dictacted by the kids, 5 ½ and 7 years old:

Happy Father’s Day Dad! We love you and miss you. When are you coming home? Will you get summer vacation?  (Boy, 5 1/2 y.o. says:) I’m training for America Ninja Warrior. (Girl, 7 y.o. says:) I’m a munchkin in the summer play of Wizard of Oz, can you come see it? Ask your boss. We love you!

A fitting tribute to Flag Day, Father’s Day and the Army’s 237th birthday!

All of us at Our Dad’s Flag wish all the dads out there . . . and all those beyond . . .  a great day. And Happy Birthday to the US Army! 237 years old and looking stronger and better than ever!

Now We Wish You a Happy Flag Day!

So it happens one day. You’re sitting in the pew of your select house of worship when the gentleman next to you leans over and asks for an unexpected favor.  In this case the question is not necessarily WWJD? (read: What Would Jesus Do?)  It’s WWBRD? Well, Betsy Ross would say, giving a positive nod in her white Quaker bonnet, “Yes, indeed. I’m happy to help.”  As legend has it, (with some of Our Mom’s own fictitious flare) that this is what happened when a notable fellow worshipper named George Washington asked the good seamstress, Mrs. Betsy Ross, to make up the new flag for the United colonies…America.

Happy Flag Day and thanks to “Betsy” and Lisa Acker Moulder at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, PA!

In honor of Flag Day, Our Dad’s Flag was recently hosted by Mrs. Ross herself (pictured here with her reenactor) in her upholstery shop at the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia. “Dad” has fond memories of visiting the house when he was a child and cannot wait to return from Afghanistan to bring his own children there for a visit. Our incredible thanks to Lisa Acker Moulder, Betsy Ross House Director, and to all at Historic Philadelphia for hosting Our Dad’s Flag and displaying the flag for a day at this historic home. So here’s our Father’s Day gift to Dad — the virtual visit to his boyhood memory. We can’t wait for you to get home and take a road trip. For everyone else, start making up your own history and visit Historic Philadelphia to plan a fun summer trip to Philly and be sure to tell Betsy we said “Hi!”

From Continental to Contemporary

The first American flag was referred to as the Continental Colors (or the Grand Union Flag) featuring the British Union Jack. After the founding fathers penned the Declaration of Independence it was time for a flag redesign with more independent appeal. The story of Betsy Ross’ involvement is still a bit of a mystery as its design is disputed among historians. Over time Betsy’s family said that George Washington and a few others representing the “flag committee” of Congress came to her upholstery shop with a small sketch of a flag with 13 stripes and 13 stars.

Again, according to family legend, Betsy used her seamstress know-how to suggest improvements in design. This new rectangular flag featuring 13 5-pointed stars stitched in a circle with the 13 stripes was soon raised and flown on naval ships and the design became the official American Flag on June 14, 1777 with the Congress passing the “Flag Resolution.”

As most of us know, the design of the flag evolved over time — more stars, more stripes – and became too cluttered. Today, we enjoy a flag that will always feature 13 stripes as a tribute to the original 13 colonies and . . . for now, 50 stars.

Fly It High and Proud!

So Happy Flag Day to all! On June 14th display your Grand Old Flag with pride and please remember that Our Dad and all the troops abroad are saluting and pledging the ultimate allegiance to our sweet land of liberty!

Need More Stars & Stripes?

Think of the pride and glory experienced by Olympic Athletes representing TEAM USA at the  raising of the American flag while they take the podium to win bronze, silver and gold! How about supporting TEAM USA, the United States Olympic and Paralympic teams? London’s calling and the 2012 games are right around the corner! Team USA’s fundraising program Raise Our Flag gives you an opportunity to put a stitch in the American flag! They say it is, “more than a flag you’re helping to build. Every time you add a stitch, you are helping to build Team USA.”  So again, WWBRD? As a patriotic seamstress, she’d help stitch and raise the flags they carry. Won’t you? For more information, visit Raise Our Flag

Although our project trains mainly from sea to shining sea…you never know if Our Dad’s Flag might “cross the pond” Stay tuned . . .

So have a great Flag Day pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and a great Father’s Day as we miss “Our Dad” so far from home — as well as so many other troops away from their family and friends! If you like our family project in patriotism, share it with a friend and especially a Veteran. Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. 

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From Bluegrass to A Blue Star

“The Show That Made Country Music Famous.” The Grand Ole Opry started 80 years ago as a network radio show that now has a recorded history of old time string-bands, a stage that witnessed the birth of bluegrass, honky-tonk, The Nashville Sound and cross over music from country to pop to rock n roll. Our thanks to Mr. Pete Fisher, General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry,  for hosting Our Dad’s Flag in Nashville, TN and bringing our flag to the center stage. Our Dad, as well as so many of the troops, love Country Music! May that special oak circle on stage continue to be unbroken!

Our Dad’s Flag takes the stage . . . thanks to Pete Fisher and all at the Grand Ole Opry for supporting our project and our troops!

According to the website, www.opry.com, The Grand Ole Opry began just five years after commercial radio was born in the United States. In 1925, the National Life and Accident Insurance Company built a radio station as a public service to the local community and with the hope that the new medium could advertise insurance policies. The station’s call letters, WSM, stood for the company’s motto: “We Shield Millions.”

An Impressive Venue

“The Grand Ole Opry celebrates country music’s diversity,” says Opry general manager Pete Fisher. “In addition, the Opry presents the many generations of artists who have formed country music’s legacy and continue to forge its future course.” Members of the Opry consist of famous names like Garth Brooks, Clint Black, Charlie Daniels, Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill, Allison Krauss, Loretta Lynn,  Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Keith Urban, and Carrie Underwood…just to name a few. Whew! And that doesn’t even include the numerous Guest Artists!!!

“I’ve said it for the record a thousand times. I’ll state it again a thousand times. This is the pinnacle of what I do. Nothing has ever touched being a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

                                               – Garth Brooks

Visit Your Bluegrass Roots

If ever in Nashville be sure to visit the Grand Ole Opry and take a backstage tour. To read more about this famed music hall’s history visit www.opry.com. Again, thanks to Mr. Pete Fisher for his courteous, country hospitality!

Our Dad’s Flag Set List

As always, thanks for reading!  Hint of Our Dad’s Flag travels coming up:  how big is your CONSTITUTION? Isn’t it FLAG DAY next week?!?!?  Remember the roots of country music and next time you hear a song have a Grand Ole time and sing along and share our project with a friend.  

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One Man’s Empire


Okay, that’s not a real script but mom took some liberties . . . however, in reality, Our Dad’s Flag was recently taken for a stroll along the faux “grand promenade”, the set of Boardwalk Empire. Our host? The show’s creator and executive producer, Terence Winter. His hit HBO series is currently filming its third season (BTW: mom and dad are big fans!) and the set is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

His Empire: Terence Winter on the set of Boardwalk Empire with Our Dad’s Flag

His Story of History 

His is a tapestry of time with fibers of fact and folklore spun into a great work of historical fiction. Winter’s Boardwalk Empire features golden era glimmers of the roaring twenties, weaved with colorful real life characters of crime, politics and celebrity along with fictitious players who twist into a compelling mesh of syndicates – some good and most bad – all framed during prohibition.

The adoption of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, the Volstead Act (ratified by the states to go into effect in January 1920), forbid the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages – specifically those drinks containing more than one half of one percent (1 proof). This gave root to bootleggers, rumrunners, racketeering and mobsters; it was the birth of new invincibility. Terence Winter’s series takes place mostly in Atlantic City (the seaside beyond reproach) and revolves around this political experiment of control as the adolescence of society and nation tests boundaries — and breaks through with wild abandon.

The Real McCoy

Boardwalk Empire has been loosely based on the book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City, by Nelson Johnson. This book depicts the real life of Nucky Johnson, the county treasurer in Atlantic City for over 30 years who is said to have dominated city politics and society. The artistic license of the Boardwalk series writers is challenged as story development is held to the actual periods of characters like Lucky Luciano, Al Capone, and Arnold Rothstein. Many other important Boardwalk characters are products of the writers – and they are wonderful at that.

Steel Pier Atlantic City-Detroit Publishing circa 1910-20

Winter and all involved with the creative development of Boardwalk Empire go above and beyond to pull music, costumes, locations and conflicts from this time period.  During this era, jazz and big bands were all the rage, flapper fashion was en vogue and cultural crises were aplenty: anti-communism, racism, immigration, women’s right to vote, religious and moral conflicts.

The Winter Seasons

Terence Winter has an extensive background in television production, development and writing. Before Boardwalk Empire, he was best known for his incredible work on The Sopranos. Amazingly enough, he didn’t start out creating thugs and mobsters — he worked with sitcoms! Maybe even more amazing is that he didn’t even start his writing career until after he attended St. John’s Law School and got his JD — which was after attending NYU — which was after he was resigned to the fact that he’d most likely wind up as an auto mechanic. Lucky for us, he weathered the different seasons.

Winter believes in keeping things entertaining and doing what he loves. In an interview with Huffington Post’s Susan Dormandy Eisenberg, Winter said, “I am privileged to do this for a living. I come from a place where I never thought people liked their jobs. So the idea of doing something you love, creating things and telling stories and working with other really talented people … is incredible.”

No time for idle hands, Winter keeps busy not only dusting the numerous industry awards on his shelves but also being the Creator and Executive Producer on Boardwalk Empire. He recently wrote the film adaptation of Jordan Belfort’s autobiography The Wolf of Wall Street (to be directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio) and also has a project in the works with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

Thumbs up and thanks!

Look for the premiere of Boardwalk Empire’s third season this fall and if you’ve missed out…catch up on it all season one is now on DVD, and if you’re up to speed on season two you’ll understand why Our Dad and the troops in Afghanistan are still asking, ”Jimmy? Really?!?!” Our thanks to Mr. Winter for continuing to keep us – and the troops – entertained and for being such a gracious host to Our Dad’s Flag. Additional thanks to Cameron Combe for his outstanding assistance!

Need More Boards?

The idea for the first boardwalk came about in the 1870s down in Atlantic City as a way to prevent tourists from tracking sand into the hotels and shops. Mere wooden boards were laid out in the town near the coast. . . then low and behold — folks truly enjoyed walking on them! This brought in even more tourists. Overtime the idea improved, the boards were raised and widened, railed and lit up. This created a true ramble, promenade and amusement atmosphere that encouraged more hotels, shops and attractions. You’re welcome Bally’s, Harrah’s and Mr. Trump!

Tune in Next Week When  . . .

Can you guess where Our Dad’s Flag is going next? There are many visits on the horizon but here’s one hint: Our Dad’s Flag had a grand ole time. Thanks for reading, following and commenting. If you like our family project in patriotism, share it with a friend. Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. 

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Let’s Honor & Remember

This weekend take time to honor and remember. Be part of the memorial and patriotic tradition — find a VFW member, make a contribution and proudly wear or display your “Buddy Poppy” a simple, yet meaningful flower handmade by proud hands that care, and most of all, can.

The ultimate memorial: Arlington National Cemetery

We’re busy honoring and remembering for Memorial Day while “Our Dad” is serving in Afghanistan. We’ll return to Our Dad’s Flag next week. For more information on the history of the “Buddy Poppy,” a simple flower with a rich history, visit Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). Photo courtesty of Arlington National Cemetery

God Bless America! If you like our family project in patriotism, share it with a friend and especially a Veteran. Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook. 

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The Pipes are Calling

You can hear it coming from a mile away. It whines, wails, groans and hums. Sounds annoying right? Wrong! Because on St. Patrick’s Day there’s no finer sound than that of the moans and pitches of bagpipes echoing through the streets of New York City in the world’s oldest and largest annual parade that celebrates Irish heritage and the patron saint of Ireland.

2012 St. Patrick's Day parade, NYC. Photo: The Boken on Flikr.

Regimental Pipe Major Joe Brady and Lt. Col. James Gonyo lead the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade up Fifth Avenue. Photo: The Boken, Flickr.

For the past 22 years, Joe Brady, the regimental pipe major of 1st Battalion, 69th Regiment has led the traditional parade of marches along side the regiment Commander (currently Lt. Col. James Gonyo) playing military marching tunes for the famed “Fighting 69th”. Although technically they follow the NYPD mounted police escort in the official Line of March, Joe Brady leads the soldiers in their 150-year role as head of the parade, followed by 250,000 or so other marchers up Fifth Avenue.

Regimental Pipe Major Joe Brady Jr. wearing Our Dad’s Flag on his sash as he marches into the Lexingon Armory on St. Patrick’s Day in NYC. Note: Our Dad’s Flag past participant GEN Martin E. Dempsey behind him! Photo: Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This year, Our Dad’s Flag also led the 251st Annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade as Joe Brady wore Our Dad’s Flag on his sash throughout the entire 1 1/2 mile route of the parade — to be seen by 2 million spectators and televised locally throughout the New York metropolitan area! This was a fitting and humbling tribute by Joe as this year’s parade, according to the official committee of the parade, was marched “In honor of ALL American Veterans — from every branch of service and from every war or conflict.”

We know that “Our Dad” was pining for good ol’ New York on St. Patrick’s Day. While in Afghanistan he was missing the Mass at St. Pat’s, the marching, and the madness and mayhem that always follows at the Armory. Many thanks to Joe for escorting Our Dad’s Flag in an effort to promote patriotism and represent all the men and women currently serving far from home as he marched through another page of American history.

The March of March

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in 1762 formed by ex-patriot Irish and Irish soldiers attached to the British Army stationed in the colonies as a way of celebrating their roots. They dedicated the day to the Patron Saint of Ireland (and the Archdiocese of New York) which included congregating, playing pipes and Irish tunes, wearing green, and marching to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral for words from the Archbishop of New York.

The Blowhards

According to Richard Crawford, piping enthusiast and author of Pipers of the Highland Regiments 1854-1902, in the 1700s the British government tried to suppress the Scottish families and clan traditions. They forbid them to wear kilts and plaids and did not allow them to play music such as the bagpipes.  By 1852, the British reconsidered renaming the bagpipe an “Instrument of War” and incorporating its role into the military. The blowhard Brits realized the pipes had a purpose. They noticed that when the pipes played as a form of marshal music it encouraged the celts, put a lilt in their march and really got them into the spirit of fighting.

Our kids with a special thanks to Regimental Pipe Major Joe Brady Jr. for carrying Our Dads Flag!

Throughout the following years, bagpipes and drummers became popular “instruments of war” and became recognizable as such, especially for celtic forces. Many regiments had a pipe band and/or a regimental piper who boosted morale. Over time this dwindled. Joe Brady, a former NY State Guard member, is currently the ONLY official pipe major for a regiment left in the U.S. His most frequently performed song with the 69th? Garryowen, the old Irish quick-step, which is the official regimental marching tune of the Fighting 69th.

Wanna Know More Joe?

Pipe Major Joe Brady Jr. wearing Our Dad’s Flag joined by General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Joe Brady has Scottish and Irish roots and learned the bagpipes from his father. By age 17 he was rated as a professional open bagpiper – an extraordinary achievement at such a young age. The pipes are a tricky instrument to master; it is limited to nine notes that are achieved only by blowing and squeezing and its musician must have lots of stamina! The bagpipe is one whose hum and wails are recognizable and associated with so many emotions from pride and joy to sorrow and loss. Joe Brady, plays not only the regimental pipe major for the 69th, but plays at numerous other military events and of course the traditional weddings and funerals.

Joe and Family on 3/17/12 with Gen. Dempsey.

Brady has earned worldwide recognition as a bagpipe competitor, judge and performer. He’s played for numerous dignitaries, gigs with the Chieftains and Wolftones and in places and competitions all over the world.

Many thanks to Joe Brady Jr. for escorting Our Dad’s Flag in the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. What a great day!

Want More Fighting 69th?

Coming soon . . . Lt. Col. Gonyo – check your mail soon!

Thanks for reading and we’ll continue to share our adventures as the flag travels the US. Bet you can’t guess where Our Dad’s Flag goes next! Perhaps we’ll go for a stroll on the boardwalk? Also, we hear something’s happening at the zoo? Hmmm.

Be sure to sign up to follow on email, become a follower on Twitter and like us on Facebook. Comments? Then . . . be like Joe Brady and pipe up! Use the link below or E-mail ourdadsflag@yahoo.com.


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Liberty for All

This week’s write up could have gone in a few different directions but in the end, there was only one clear choice – no write up.  Please take the time to read this patriotic poem by William Ross Wallace (1819-1881) celebrating America’s independence and liberty.  It is said to have helped name the Liberty Bell and was also adopted as the pride of abolitionists. Although the bell cracked long ago and no longer tolls, it is an American treasure symbolizing liberty for all.  Our Dad’s Flag recently had an incredible visit in Philadelphia, PA with Cynthia MacLeod, Superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, steward of the Liberty Bell.

“The Liberty Bell”

Our thanks to Superintendent MacLeod & staff – the stewards of national treasures.

   A sound like a sound of thunder rolled,
        And the heart of a nation stirred—
   For the bell of Freedom, at midnight tolled,
         Through a mighty land and was heard.
    And the chime still rung
    From its iron tongue
        Steadily swaying to and fro;
    And to some it came
    Like a breath of flame—
        And to some a sound of wo.

   Above the dark mountain, above the blue wave
   It was heard by the fettered, and heard by the brave—
   It was heard in the cottage, and heard in the hall—
   And its chime gave a glorious summons to all—
   The sabre was sharpened—the time-rusted blade
   Of the Bond started out in the pioneer’s glade
   Like a herald of wrath:  And the host was arrayed!
   Along the dark mountain, along the blue wave
   Swept the ranks of the Bond—swept the ranks of the Brave;
   And a shout as of waters went up to the dome.
        When a star blazing banner unfurled,
   Like the wing of some Seraph flashed out from its home,
        Uttered freedom and hope to the world.
   O’er the hill-top and tide its magnificent fold,
   With a terrible glitter of azure and gold,
   In the storm, in the sunshine, and darkness unrolled.
   It blazed in the valley—it blazed on the mast—
   It leaped with its Eagle abroad on the blast;
   And the eyes of whole nations were turned to its light;
        And the heart of the multitude soon
   Was swayed by its stars, as they shone through the night
        Like an ocean when swayed by the moon.

   Again and through the midnight that Bell thunders out,
   And banners and torches are hurried about:–
   A shout as of waters!  a long-uttered cry!
   How it leaps, how it leaps from the earth to the sky!
   From the sky to the earth, from the earth to the sea,
   Hear a chorus re-echoed, “The People are Free!”
   That old Bell is still seen by the Patriot’s eye,
   And he blesses it ever, when journeying by;
   Long years have passed o’er it, and yet every soul
   Will thrill in the night to its wonderful roll;
   For it speaks in its belfry, when kissed by the blast,
   Like a glory-breathed tone from the mystical Past.
   Long years shall roll o’er it, and yet every chime
   Shall unceasingly tell of an era sublime
   More splendid, more dear than the rest of all time.
   O yes!  If the flame on our altars should pale,
        Let its voice but be heard, and the Freeman shall start
   To rekindle the fire, while he sees on the gale,
        All the stars, and the stripes of the Flag of his heart!

(The Liberty Bell by William Ross Wallace from Meditations in America, New York:  Charles Scribner, 1851. From: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~class/am485_97/revolution/William.htm)

Need More Bell?

Visit the US Department of the Interior’s National Park Service website dedicated to the Liberty Bell Center online http://www.nps.gov/inde/liberty-bell-center.htm

Thank You for Reading!

Thanks for reading, following and commenting.  We hope to have more photos to add to our “behind the scenes” link soon. We’re missing Dad terribly but having some great Skype sessions where the kids get to fill him in on school, parties, life and the progress of Our Dad’s Flag!  If you like our family project in patriotism, share it with a friend. Feel free to tweet all about it and like us on Facebook.  So where’s the flag heading to next? Well, don’t you just love a parade . . .

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The Boss

He was “born in the U.S.A.” He’s from New Jersey. He’s done tours all over the world. He’s known for his incredible vocals. He is The Boss. Our Dad’s Flag recently had an exciting visit with this star – actually, all four stars.

Before we continue — a quick note to all our Jersey Shore friends — he might not be the boss you’re thinking about . . .  In regard to the Armed Forces, he is the boss as the highest ranking military officer in the United States. Our Dad’s Flag was honored to visit with 4-star General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Land, Sea and Air

General Martin E. Dempsey - "The Boss"

Although not functioning in a combatant command, General Dempsey is the principal military advisor in the United States – in essence, he’s “The Boss.” The ‘joint’ aspect of the Joint Chiefs of Staff refers to the top officers from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force along with key members of their staff. General Dempsey consults with them and advises the President, Secretary of Defense, and National Security Council on assorted concerns. “Like what?” you ask. Hmmm.  How about continued and secure strategic partnerships with Afghanistan security forces, maintaining troop strength and morale, any of the little goings-on in Asia and the Middle East like Iran, Syria, North Korea? Let’s not forget to mention fiscal struggles, global security, space, cyber space, etc . . . you know, nothing too, too big! But seriously folks, our family is honored that he took the time out of what must be an incredibly busy life to participate in Our Dad’s Flag!

The CJCS leads our Profession of Arms. He is the steward of our military profession, and with the Joint Chiefs is the keeper of our values, ethics, and standards. He integrates the collective strengths and unique cultures of each service into a Joint Team during both peace and war, promoting Jointness. Professionalism and Jointness are perishable, they must be cultivated.

From “America’s Military – A Profession of Arms” White Paper

Military Family and More

General Dempsey is “career” Army. He graduated from the United States Military Academy (West Point) and has served through numerous conflicts, ranks, locations, and roles including Chief of Staff of the Army (Our Dad knows General Dempsey and had the honor and pleasure of attending this Arrival and Swearing-In Ceremony!) His awards and decorations are too numerous to mention — he is after all, a four star general.  While his military family includes active, guard and reserve service members, wounded warriors, families and veterans – his real-life family includes his wife Deanie (his “high school sweetheart”), their three children who have all served in the Army and a growing platoon of grandchildren. And we are serious about the earlier mention of incredible vocals – he’s a great singer! Google it if you don’t believe us! For a more thorough biography on General Dempsey visit the website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Another Day, Another Opportunity

General Dempsey is a military leader who not only focuses on preparedness, responsibility and strategy but places great value on service members, their families, returning vets and wounded warriors.  He recently spoke at the Defense Department’s Warrior Resilience Conference on earning a bond of trust with service members and their families. In one part he posed the question, “is this just another day or is today another opportunity…?” He takes every day as another opportunity to help build the best defense strategy, balance the scales for women in the military, promote improvement for the individual and institution, and among so many others things – create the “best led and the best trained force in the world.”   

Red, White Paper and Blue

Need a quick jolt of clarity about our armed forces and a rush of patriotism? Read any of General Dempsey’s recent White Papers available on the JCS webpage, namely A Profession of Arms or Mission Command. Become informed about what’s at stake. Become aware of what’s required. Become inspired by our nation’s potential come 2020. Or you can read up on the numerous things that the Warrior and Family Support Office of the JCS offers and what you can do to help be part of the grateful nation – these white papers will have you proud of the red, white and blue!   

Social Media Military

General Dempsey takes to social media to keep the forces and public in touch with all the latest and greatest of his Chair affairs. He’s on Facebook and writes a blog on the Department of Defense website  and is even on Twitter  as @Martin_Dempsey.  He tweets people! He tweets! How cool is that?!

Need More Jointness?

It is said that the idea of joining ‘chiefs’ of available staff has a history dating back to the War of 1812 when General Ulysses S. Grant rallied naval support from Admiral David Porter for military planning and campaign tactics in Vicksburg.  The official idea of “joint” work, based on Churchill’s example of the British Chiefs of Staff, was started and stopped in the US a few times before official incorporation through the National Security Act of 1947. It was revamped with the Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986. General Martin E. Dempsey is the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  “Continue mission!”

A 4 Star Thank You!

Our thanks go out to General Martin E. Dempsey and his staff and especially to his family. His is one that we’re sure is incredibly familiar with the blue star service flag — all too well! We know that Our Dad is thrilled and honored by this visit.

Where to Now Our Dad’s Flag?

We skipped last week’s update but we’ve got good excuses! Please forgive mom – tee ball season just started and with Dad deployed it’s been time consuming for her to catch our 5-year-old-son up on the basics – especially the idea that you need only throw the ball to first base – not the ball and mitt. It’s also Irish dance recital time with our daughter jiggin’ and reelin’. (And many thanks to our Irish Dance school for the special Kelly Emcee “shout out” for Our Dad in Afghanistan!)

What are the next visits? Here are some hints: 1. the pipes are calling and 2. the bell ain’t ringing.

Tango Mike (thanks much) for reading. Our Dad’s Flag is a tribute for all of General Dempsey’s military family — active, guard and reserve service members, wounded warriors, families and veterans — so be sure to tell others about this project by sharing this, tweeting all about it and/or liking us on Facebook.   Charlie Mike! (continue mission!)

The Boss’ Boss Pick

As for those of you who expected  the other “Boss” Bruce Springsteen – should we send him Our Dad’s Flag? We’d love to hear your thoughts.  As for The Boss on The Boss – we wonder if General Dempsey has a favorite song by Bruce . . Hmmm. If we hear, we’ll let you know!

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Houston, We Have a Pr. . .esident!

Live from Houston with kind regards, our 41st President of the United States, former Presdient George H.W. Bush.  Texas is becoming well-represented with Our Dad’s Flag!

Presidential Style

While dad’s deployed in Afghanistan, we’ve been playing a lot of the Presdients vs. Aliens app in our house and becoming quite the presidential trivia buffs. Our kids now know the generations of the Bush family who resided in the White House and the various military “conflicts” that arose during their terms, their predessors and successors.  This interest has carried over into them actually checking books out of the library including titles like Lives of the Presidents by Kathleen Krull and a biography on Ronald Regan (you can’t make this stuff up!)

However, our 5-year-old son will only choose his favorite presidents based strictly on style . . . not by their party affiliation or historic accomplishments . . . but by hair style: Andrew Jackson because his hair was “awesome” and “wild,” Thomas Jefferson because he was a redhead, James Buchanan for his “faux hawk” and Chester A. Arthur for his mutton chops. 

More Flag Next Week 

Another busy week on our end so this one’s short and sweet. Want more information about President Bush? Visit The George Bush Library and Museum. Our thanks to George Bush and his office out in Houston.

Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up next week on all the travels of Our Dad’s Flag! Do you think we’ll have more presidential flag visits in our future? Maybe. Ahem, maybe.  

Official Shout Out 

These pictures of the presidents are from www.whitehouse.gov

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A Good Hostess

While we’re working on the next host/hostess of Our Dad’s Flag, this week we have a guest contributor – excerpts from an e-mail from Our Dad in Afghanistan that may leave you reconsidering your traditional Easter Basket goodies!

To: Us
From: Dad
Re: April 2012 – Afghanistan
There are some things that we deployed soldiers miss more than you would think.  We’re missing holidays with our families, maybe a barbeque with friends, home cooking and Opening Day – these are just a few things that come to mind. But your average “Joe” here realizes he can’t have these big things so he tries not to think about them and drives on. I suppose this is what makes us all focus on the silly, little things that we get in care packages from home.  Sure you can get pie at the chow hall on a good day and you might be lucky enough to find a package of Twizzlers at the PX before they sell out (and don’t get another shipment for weeks due to road closures.)  But one thing the Army will never feed you — or apparently even sell to you — in the FOBs of Afghanistan is . . . a Twinkie.  Oh the suffering!

The land of Jelabi and gur>

Over here in the land of Afghanistan the local treats might include Jelabi and gur — deep-fried wheat bread with syrup and molasses. Although I know very little bit about the matter, in print it sounds to me like a donut. So we stick to our chow hall offerings until that care package arrives.
I find that some of the most important people a soldier wants to share with are the junior enlisted in the mail hut.  The Midwestern farm boys in the mail hut can make sure your packages are put aside, or they can follow the usual routine and throw them in a bin and wait for the unit mail clerk to come by, pick them up, sort them out and get them to you a few days later. The trick is: if you share what’s in your packages with the mail guys, they put them aside and anxiously await your arrival. 
I’ve been lucky enough to have family members and friends recently send me Twinkies, I moderated the distribution of some of them with the mail guys.  One of them acted as though he was a deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck and said, “I haven’t even seen a picture of one of these things in eight months.”  The other kid took the Twinkie in his hands as though I was handing him a newborn baby, and I’m pretty sure he tried to hide the fact he was welling up with tears.  And their emotional response is even more telling and entertaining when you think about the fact that both of these kids are over six feet tall and have the build of linebackers literally from lifting bales of hay every day of their lives before joining the Army.  It’s amazing when such a little thing, that most folks can buy at any store; can make someone on the other side of the world so happy.
That’s why the young soldiers here love Twinkies…and so do pilots who fly us safely from one FOB to another and drivers of the rigs that transport us on fun-filled road trips. Apparently, everyone loves a Twinkie. These small cream-filled sponge-cakes are truly a reminder of home and good old’ boy lunchbox days gone by.  



After we heard about the popularity of the Twinkies, it got our family thinking differently about assembling care packages. Mom had stopped in a local deli and eyed a pile of single-serve Twinkies. Hmm. Two older gentlemen standing with their cups of coffee commented about what a good treat they are. Mom explained that Our Dad was in Afghanistan and uses them as a quick pick-me up for his fellow soldiers and that they’re all the rage. This got them sharing their stories of one whose son did tours with the Marines and the other’s nephew who is currently on his 3rd deployment. Mom immediately put in an order of 5 boxes of Twinkies from the deli owner…and the two gentlemen insisted on contributing money towards the purchase knowing that these are going directly to the source – the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan who could use a treat from home along with our best wishes of a safe and speedy return home. 

Need More Twinkies?

Go to the store! Twinkies® are a true American brand have been on the market for over 80 years made by Hostess and Interstate Bakeries Corp. and were created by a man named Jimmy Dewar.  He is known for saying, “Twinkies was the best darn-tootin’ idea I ever had.”   Just remember: all treats in moderation! (Twinkies® are a registered trademark of Hostess Cakes.) For fun and wacky stories about the doings with Twinkies visit http://www.hostesscakes.com/ and read up on recipes and even order The Twinkies Cookbook!

OK, Enough about Twinkies – Where’s the Flag?

It’s a busy week on our end with the holiday and a little girl’s birthday to celebrate while missing her dad — so we’ll get back to it next week. But if you really need a hint about what’s coming up here goes: In general, you’ll give this visit 4 stars! Thanks for reading and we’ll catch up next week on all the travels of Our Dad’s Flag! Remember to be a good “Hostess” and share our project with a friend.  

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