Reading personal stories, blogs, articles, books, interests me. I thought I would share an excerpt from John McCain's book 'Faith of my Fathers' on this Veterans Day. Whenever I hear his name I remember this moving account of his time as a prisoner of war in a camp known as the Hanoi Hilton~
"One of the men who moved into my (POW) room was a young man named Mike Christian. ... Mike got himself a bamboo needle. Over a period of a couple of months, he created an American flag and sewed on the inside of his shirt.
"Every afternoon, before we had a bowl of soup, we would hang Mike's shirt on the wall of the cell and say the Pledge of Allegiance.
"I know the Pledge of Allegiance may not seem the most important part of our day now, but I can assure you that in that stark cell it was indeed the most important and meaningful event.
"One day the Vietnamese searched our cell, as they did periodically, and discovered Mike's shirt with the flag sewn inside, and removed it.
"That evening they returned, opened the door of the cell, and for the benefit of all of us, beat Mike Christian severely for the next couple of hours. Then, they opened the door of the cell and threw him in. We cleaned him up as well as we could.
"The cell in which we lived had a concrete slab in the middle on which we slept. Four naked light bulbs hung in each corner of the room.
"As I said, we tried to clean up Mike as well as we could. After the excitement died down, I looked in the corner of the room, and sitting there beneath that dim light bulb with a piece of red cloth, another shirt and his bamboo needle, was my friend, Mike Christian. He was sitting there with his eyes almost shut from the beating he had received, making another American flag. He was not making the flag because it made Mike Christian feel better. He was making that flag because he knew how important it was to us to be able to pledge our allegiance to our flag and country."
To me this story is about human spirit, unity when it really counts, loyalty, bravery, and of course, love. Love of country and our fellow man.
To all our Veterans, past and present, thank you. Today we honor you.