I’ve uploaded a picture of a cherished family heirloom. As you can see, it is a gift from my older brother, Lt Col Dean Strobel, US Army. With so many veterans in the Strobel herd, it’s hard to single one out. Dean enlisted as a young man, got a commission, served some time, then retired. After 9/11 this patriotic young man with a large family and great job went back in and did what was necessary to further secure our freedoms. Huge high five to General Electric, who honored their commitment to my brother and had a job waiting for him after his Army career. Dean now works at the GE plant in northern Kentucky. Props to you bro. But I can still beat you up.
I’ve had this beauty in its box, on a shelf. Most of the year it is forgotten. I tried to keep it perfectly folded and clean, because it was special. I just recently moved, and came across her again. For some crazy reason, I started to hear Ray Charles sing “America the Beautiful”. Maybe because I just got back from the beautiful East Tennessee mountains, and saw the purple majesty. Maybe because of the school program I went to yesterday. All possible because some 18 year old went to war 100 years ago, and a different one is humping through the desert, Heaven knows where. Watch the video. It you’re a tough guy like me, do it alone so no one sees you tear up.
That and Whitney Houston in the Super Bowl still gives me chills.
Flags do not sleep. They pulse with the lifeblood of great, anonymous, and beautiful men and women. Alive or dead, during peace and war, my veteran family wakes up, walks tall, and makes my mundane life possible. It dawned on me that “America the Beautiful” isn’t just the varied soils, climates, beaches, deserts, and mountains. It’s also our culture, our people. Friends, neighbors, family. As imperfect as the land we inhabit, we live and evolve into a better people and place. The sacrifice of these great men and women have given us the freedoms to do so.
We stand on the shoulders of giants.
So this episode of Dr Doug’s isn’t about blister balm. Please post a pic of your family member, members, a patch, your flag, or your thoughts about this day.
To my country and my friends, I was honored to serve you those ten great years. Dean, this flag is out of her box and flies in the morning sun. Hope you don’t mind.