. . . and at the end of the day . . .
It is fitting, as Veteran’s Day nears, that our feature project is a display case for a WWII veteran’s flag. When I met Ron to get his Dad’s flag, his ask was straight-forward. I would match the flag case to his book cases and fireplace surround which are sleekly designed in hardwood cherry with a hickory finish. I think we nailed it.
Along the way I became invested in the subject matter. As you fashion pieces and agonize over fit and finish one’s perspective can shift, and thus, it became less Ron’s display case and more Bernie’s flag case.
This is where I should introduce you to Bernie. He served on the Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid, most notably at the Kwajelein Atoll and in support of the attack on the Marshall Islands. The Intrepid was the ‘most hit’ of all carrier class vessels in WWII. It once took a hit from a Japanese torpedo that so heavily damaged a rudder that the Captain ordered the crew to fashion large sails out of tarps and scraps. These ‘sails’ controlled navigation as the ship limped back to Pearl Harbor on a trip that took eight days in February of 1944. Fortunately, Bernie’s story did not end with the chapter on WWII.
I can’t say for sure that Bernie’s flag case really turned out better than Ron’s display case would have. But I am better for the story and how it bonded son to father. Especially in current time when some who leave to serve come back incomplete or damaged. In his Veteran’s Day ceremony remarks at Arlington Nation Cemetery on November 11, 1961, President John F. Kennedy put it best when he said, “…and to the dead here in this cemetery we say:
They are the race--
They are the race immortal,
Whose beams make broad
The common light of day!
Though Time may dim,
Though Death has barred their portal,
These we salute,
Which nameless passed away.”
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