The Flag Man
We find the most amazing things on the winding county roads in the Carolinas. I know I have said it before, but it’s always worth repeating “There is good therapy on our crooked roads”. If you don’t drive too fast and allow yourself to get caught up in the rhythm of the motion and visual sights, it’s a bit like moving meditation.
This is especially true if you are on a road with rolling pastures and vivid forest. One of the many benefits of being in the Carolinas is the beauty of the four seasons, which provides constant change for our drives.
I was recently on such a road while on the way for an interview with Air Force Veteran Bud Byers. As we would say, Bud lives out in the country. I was enjoying the drive and all the sudden as I was coming out of modest curve I saw what can best be described as an impressive Veterans Flag memorial garden. Situated in the gentle arc of the road, as if the road was placed perfectly to allow drivers to get an effortless view.
Charles “Bud” Marvin Byers served in the United States Air Force as a Staff Sergeant from December 1956 – December 1960. His father called him Bud and most people who know him now call him Bud as well. After his Air Force service, he became a trucker with a 40-year career. Bud told me, for some reason the trucking people called him Charlie. He said it was a good job and it allowed him to take care of his family and see to it that his children had a great education.
As our interview progressed it did not take long for us to realize that Bud, who is now in his 80’s is a true American Patriot. He loves our country, he loves our flag and he cares greatly for the men and women who serve and have served our nation.
In addition to the America Flag, all branches are represented, the POW flag and many others are on display. Of note, there is a section of the memorial with the flags of those who keep us safe at home. There are also life size silhouettes throughout the memorial that help to reinforce the message of the price that has been paid for our freedoms.
Red rose bushes are planted all throughout garden. Bud is a bit of a perfectionist, so everything lines up just right. I ask what do the red roses symbolize? Bud said he loves roses and they look nice and he really had not thought about what they symbolize. I ask if it might symbolize his love for the American Flag and respect for all the men and women who serve. We stopped walking for a moment and with an emotional reply he said,” yes, I had not thought of it that way before, but is sure could”.
We talked about the American flag and all the other flags and each one had a story and many were emotional. Bud has many stories about people stopping by to take pictures with the flags. A lot of smiles of pride and a few tears are common.
Bud said he is not always at home when people stop and that’s okay with him. People are always welcome. Bud loves to visit with everyone and it’s extra special when fellow veterans stop by for a visit.
Bud said that he feels like we can use more patriotism now and if his efforts make a difference it’s a good thing.
Way to go Bud and Thank You Sir for your service.