How a Flag Helped a Family Cope When This Father of Three Was Deployed

For this family, a flag isn't just decoration for their barn; it was a beacon of hope.

The-Flag-on-Our-Barn-Helped-Us-Through-A-Long-Winter-of-Waiting-for-Our-Soldier-to-ReturnFarm & Ranch Living MagazineOur big red barn has always been an important part of our family’s life. Over the years, our three children spent many hours building forts in the haymow, playing hide-and-seek, and jumping into piles of hay. Angels were surely guarding our kids, cousins and friends from falling down the hay chutes and injuring themselves. What joy the kids had searching for new kittens hidden by Mama Cat or feeding newborn calves that sucked on their chubby little fingers. The 500-pound steers raised in that barn became pets and were proudly displayed at the county fairs.

Our children now lead their own lives, but the cycle continues on the farm. Our five grandchildren are welcomed home to our big red barn to enjoy the same pleasures and adventures. Grandpa Bryan proudly teaches them how to feed hay, care for the animals and, under his watchful eye, play in the haymow.

The-Flag-on-Our-Barn-Helped-Us-Through-A-Long-Winter-of-Waiting-for-Our-Soldier-to-ReturnFarm & Ranch Living MagazineThe summer of 2014 brought our children, grandchildren, friends, and family to our farm to support our son, a pilot in the Minnesota Air National Guard. He was being deployed to the Middle East and we were sending him off with tears, hugs, and prayers. Grandpa Bryan proudly attached this beautiful American flag to our big red barn. It was a symbol of our great nation, a reminder of the brave men and women who have fought for our freedoms, and a beacon to our son that would proudly be displayed until he returned home to his loved ones.

Summer heat gradually subsided and we welcomed the cooler temps and beautiful colors of autumn. The threat of winter brought on the race to harvest the crops, and long days followed with little rest. Every day we looked toward the flag on our big red barn and prayed for our son’s safe return, and for his wife and three children who were waiting to see their daddy again.

An early snowfall turned our red barn white with ice and snow, making the red, white, and blue of Old Glory stand out boldly.

The-Flag-on-Our-Barn-Helped-Us-Through-A-Long-Winter-of-Waiting-for-Our-Soldier-to-ReturnFarm & Ranch Living MagazineFinally, we received word our son was coming home! We watched with joy and gratitude as his C-130 flew over the barn, dipping his wings to greet us and announce he was back safe and sound on American soil.

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Originally Published in Farm & Ranch Living