Home Opinion Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Our Old Glory

Mine Creek Revelations by Louie Graves: Our Old Glory


FLAG ETIQUETTE. I don’t understand all I know about the right way to do things with Old Glory, but I read an article this week which said that on Memorial Day, it is traditional for the U.S. flag to be lowered to half-staff from morning until noon in memory of our fallen veterans; then raised for the rest of the day in honor of our nation’s living veterans, of whom I am one.

This is apparently a tradition which began in the late 1800s.

One thing I DO like is that veterans can now give a hand salute during the playing of the National Anthem, whether or not the veteran is ‘covered’ or the event is indoors. So, if you see someone saluting the flag during the playing of the National Anthem, you can figure he or she is a military veteran.

Before our own Memorial Day activity began here Monday morning, a bunch of the assembled veterans noticed that, across the street in front of City Hall, the U.S. flag was almost dragging the ground. It wasn’t at half-staff. It was balled-up and just barely off the ground. Some kind of difficulty with the rope, or something broken on the pole.

A handful of veterans walked across the street and untangled the flag before figuring a way to make it stay at half-staff.

Notable, Monday: There were only two veterans from WWII in ranks in the formation on the courthouse lawn. Two Dales — Dale Henry and Dale Peters. Ironically, they live one block apart in the Greenwood Addition in Nashville. Dale Henry actually served in two wars — WWII and Korea. He was a flyboy who trained other flyboys. He used to ride a big Harley up and down the roads around Nashville and once explained that riding the big bike was the next closest feeling to flying a swift fighter.

I remember times when the county’s last known surviving veteran of WWI attended the Memorial Day ceremonies. That veteran was a fine, fine gent named Homer Northum.

Every year the number of WWII veterans shrinks. The finest generation, no doubt.

Those are the old guys.

There is one young guy who merits mention. Since he was a fifth-grader, Zack Williams has bugled ‘Taps’ on his trumpet for Memorial Day and Veterans Day activities at the courthouse. And he always does a great job.

Zack will be a senior at Nashville High School next year.

There was one female veteran in the ranks Monday. Sorry I didn’t get her name. There are usually a few female veterans at the event.

I was discharged from active duty in the Navy in the spring of 1966. That’s a long time ago. But to this very day, I get emails from shipmates from those days.

As usual for this time of year, our emails mention the name of James I. Pratt, an enlisted aircrewman in our helicopter squadron who died in Vietnam along with the aircraft’s two pilots. We aircrewmen were all good friends. Pratt was our boss, and we considered him to be incredibly old. Later I learned that he was 25 when he was killed. God rest his soul.

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MYSTERIES OF LIFE. According to an article in — I kid you not — the recent publication of the Dollar Shave Club, regularly eating red meat charred over a grill is not so very good for you. That goes for poultry, pork and fish, too. BUT, eating charred veggies and fruits is okay. Eat as much as you want — or as much as you can stand. Go figure.

Let’s see, do I want to live to 104 and eat nothing but charred eggplant and pineapple?

I’ll take my chances with a t-bone or a chicken breast, thank you. And once again let me rant about the scarcity of bone-in, skin-on chicken breast right here in the heart of chicken country.

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ANIMAL CRACKERS. On my usual early morning neighborhood walk, Saturday, I was sorta stunned to see a full-grown deer standing in the middle of North 14th Street.

The deer warily watched my approach until I got to within about a block and a half. Then, obviously cognizant of my reputation for footspeed and for wrasslin wild animals, it frantically dashed into a vacant lot and disappeared to safety between houses.

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THE GOOD EARTH. Absolutely burdened by the number of fragrant blooms, my gardenia bushes are bending.

I hate to whine, but whine I must. The thing in my landscaping that grows the best is poison ivy. Followed closely by something with fearsome stickers that will go through a leather glove.

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THE TWINS. Dusk and Dawn. They’re almost always a whole day apart. It can be 12 hours. Or eight. Or 10. Depending upon the season and where you are standing on the face of the earth. They’re apparently distantly related to Coming and Going.

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HE SAID: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” Winston Churchill, British statesman

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SHE SAID: “A dark house is always an unhealthy house, always an ill-aired house, always a dirty house. Want of light stops growth and promotes scrofula, rickets, etc., among the children. People lose their health in a dark house, and if they get ill, they cannot get well again in it.” Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing

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