Courage and Constancy

Lauren - E. Setauket, New York
Entered on November 6, 2009
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Long before I begin nursing my morning coffee, I pause at my dresser and reach down to pick up a small golden pin emblazoned with the American Flag. Rolling it between my fingers, the grooves for each of the stripes and the pinpoints for all the stars are a familiar braille against my skin. The edges prick my fingertips as I squeeze the pin between my thumb and fingers, bringing myself into reality. As I clasp the pin in my palm I say a silent prayer for Private Maloney and his comrades in Arms. I pray for his protection, for the same protection this Flag grants me. I pray for his service, for my understanding of the magnitude his mission bears. Every morning, as I poke the backing through the left breast of my shirt, I pray to have the strength of my younger brother as I face a new day with him in my thoughts.

Coming to accept Bry’s enlistment in the United States Army is a daily struggle. I am overwhelmed by both my pride in him, and by my constant fear of losing him to a destiny greater than my own. After he left for Basic Training, I searched for a way to cope with my emotions. I needed something tangible that would unify my love and support of him. I visited the Army Navy store where, as a child, Bry had spent his summer afternoons searching for Army patches, vests, helmets, and canteens. Tucked away in the back corner of the store was a case of pins arranged in a flurry of colors and crests. My eyes came to focus on the pin I now wear. Frozen in time, the Flag’s waving red, blue, and white enamels piece together my passion, tears, and thoughts of Bry. Watching the pin’s gold outline catch a beam of light and sparkle as if in Bry’s eyes made me understand his love for our country. I understand that my freedom is a privilege he gives me every day. I understand the courage he has to walk into the greatest dangers to defend our Flag. I understand the cost of wearing those stars and stripes.

As I prepare myself for Bry’s deployment overseas, I feel an unbreakable bond with him and all those who share a loved one with our country. My heart swells with respect for the duty Bryan has accepted as I wear the symbol of the life, liberty, and happiness which defines his character and spirit. I believe in wearing my Flag pin. By wearing my pin every day I have found a coping ritual that holds me together as I wrestle my love and fear for him.