Week 27 Flash Fiction Challenge: Old Glory

Photo by K.S. Brooks

“All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by an affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which mislead me, and its consequences be judged by my country with some share of the partiality in which they originated.” – excerpted from George Washington’s first inaugural address.

The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until 5:00 PM Pacific Time on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012.

On Wednesday morning, July 4, 2012, we will open voting to the public with an online poll for the best writing entry accompanying the photo. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Friday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted.

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Photograph by K.S. Brooks, used here with the photographer’s permission. Copying or reproduction of any kind without express consent is prohibited. All rights reserved.

For a more detailed explanation of the contest & its workings, please see the post called “Writing Exercises Return with a Twist” from 12/24/11.

By participating in this exercise the contestants agree to the rules of the contest and waive any and all further considerations or permissions otherwise required for any winning entries to be published by Indies Unlimited as an e-book, showcasing all the photos and with the winning expositions credited appropriately and accordingly.

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8 thoughts on “Week 27 Flash Fiction Challenge: Old Glory”

  1. The flag drapes around his shoulders like a funeral shroud, and it may as well be. He thinks back to when he lost his life. Lost his meaning. Lost everything. On this Independence Day, while others celebrate with barbecues and fireworks, he stands somberly, basking in the pain of shame and regret.

    She steps up behind him, placing her hand on his shoulder, her breath a balmy breeze in his ear. She pulls the flag from his shoulders, rubbing it with delicate hands.

    “Still blame yourself?” she asks, her voice a spring breeze.

    His unshed tears, threatening to break free of their prison and truly reveal his pain, are his only response. He fights to hold in the pain, push it down as always.

    “You know I love you, right?” she asks, her voice almost ethereal.

    He turns his head, eyes closed, and slowly nods.

    “I always will,” she continues, lifting his chin with a finger.

    “I’m so sorry,” he replies, his eyes betraying him as the tears break free, shining in the evening sun.

    Her eyes glisten as she drapes the flag back over his shoulders. “I forgive you,” she says, her voice catching in her throat.

    He closes his eyes as she places her lips gently against his. When he opens them again, he is met with nothing but the open green grounds of the cemetery. She is gone yet again. He bows his head and lets the tears drip to the gravestone at his feet.

  2. Old Glory

    It was January 1942, and five boys headed up the stairs to the haymow in the big red barn. Snuggling down in the hay, the boys looked at each other, wondering who was going to start. The cold wind whistled around the big door where the hay was lifted into the barn, causing them to snuggle deeper in the hay.

    After what seemed to be forever, Bud said, “We have to make something happen here in Gibbon to help the people show total support for our guys and gals in the service. We have our own hero, my neighbor’s son, Dale Pitke, but we need something that would bring out “Patriotism” in individuals.

    Duncan stood up real excited and said, “How about rounding up some small American flags, and then march around our neighborhood showing support for our country”

    Donny jumped up and said, “That’s a great idea, Duncan! Maybe we could also suggest that everyone fly an American flag in front of their homes!”

    These ideas fostered an idea called “The Flag Project” in a small town, in the middle of the country, at the start of World War II. Five young boys inspired the small town of Gibbon to display their “Patriotism” through the flying of “Old Glory” in front of their homes; and by marching around this small town of under one thousand people with their small flags.

    It may sound like a small thing, but these young Patriots were effective.

  3. Seth and Old Glory

    The bell rang. The fifth graders took their seats. Seth grabbed his own, a little breathless because of what he had made up his mind to do. When the teacher said, “All rise for the Pledge of Allegiance,” Seth watched the others stand and place their right hands over their hearts. He remained seated.

    Led by the teacher, the students droned the familiar words.

    “We pledge allegiance to the Flag

    Of the United States of America…”

    By the end of the pledge, Mrs. Blake had her eye on Seth in his seat. Seth suppressed a nervous grin. After all, what he was doing was right. He wanted his country’s flag to mean something. Perhaps he could force the grownups to honor the red, white, and blue in earnest.

    The rest of the class sat down.

    “Class, take out your math books and do the exercise on page 26. Seth, come up to my desk.”

    Beside her desk,Seth stood squarely on both feet

    “Students who fail to recite the Pledge of Allegiance get automatic detention,” she said.

    “Okay.”

    “Okay? Is that all you have to say, young man? You know better. What will you tell your parents when you come home late from school today?”

    “That I can’t pledge allegiance to a country that protects companies that destroy the rain forest. Those big trees provide our oxygen.”

    “Oh, my.”

    “Could we all go talk to the President? When he stops the bad guys, then I’ll pledge.”

  4. "Yeah, well, like, all very nice but like, like that was then, y'know, then back'n the old days–this is now, man, now. N'like, I want it."

    Real bad. Yeah, real bad he wanted it. Wanted it so much he couldn't even begin to–

    Like. Like, there he'd been: that had been, like, 2020 or–yeah, maybe so, maybe then. The one with two "O"s, and he'd been barely more than 3-5 then, just over the legal-eagle limit and they'd all been out there, gazillions of them, sweeping the country for his candidacy to clean out. . .well, whatever. Whatever the f'-in' hell it had been back there in–there in the Day, man. Anyhow, whatever. So now was LeiderforLife [LfL, Inc.]. No problem. Show the flag and the Deifyl Machine, remember the Alamo, say "nine-eleven," flash the grin.

    He stretched his hands out, draped in the flag a big cloak. All before him, acres of good gals and drones, exclaimed forth, "Hail, Mr. President" [or, "Mister P," some], swimming up, overhead, and on high. "Hurrah."

  5. Alexie glanced down at the small bloodstain on the flag’s corner. Uncle Viktor’s blood. He trotted down the steps and away from the hall of records to his beat up old Chevy truck. The drive to Washington DC would take the rest of the afternoon. Tomorrow was the Fourth of July. The ideal day to show this country and the people exactly what he felt. They needed to understand how and why Uncle Viktor had died. There was still much preparation for his . . . surprise. Everything had to be perfect.

    Morning promised a day full of warm sunshine, and thousands of visiting people. Alexie smiled. Soon they would know what was in his heart. He’d arrived before dawn, the backpack stuffed to overflowing on the grass at his feet, the flag with Uncle Viktor’s blood folded neatly deep inside. He remembered the stories his uncle would tell, about how things were before the family came to America. Alexie was born here, hadn’t experienced what Viktor told him, but he’d relived every moment in those stories. That’s why this was so important.

    Alexie unbuckled the backpack. At random he’d chosen the names of one hundred fallen soldiers from each war. He pulled the first American flag bearing one of the names on a small flag and stuck it into the ground. His Uncle Viktor’s was among them. He had a lot of work ahead of him, placing each flag all the way to the tall monument in the distance.

  6. Old Glory – New Mission

    I nervously spied out my window. Billy Love, my neighbor’s grandson, had the banned US flag draped across his shoulders.

    He’s going to be shot.

    The sight of the flag brought back memories of my family fighting in WWII to defend what it stood for. Billy’s father was a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan.

    Twenty years ago the terrorists took down the towers in NYC. Who knew it was only a hint of what was in store for our country. They took over our country from the inside out. We were so stupid; putting up external defenses including wars in foreign lands, only to have the president and most of congress have five word names. What a shame we lost the silent war.

    I can now remember what woke me from my afternoon nap. I heard taps being played, along with the thump of a drum beating like a loud heart beat.

    Billy was standing in front of the sign, which warned anyone displaying the flag of the United States would be shot on sight.

    The news crews must have been alerted to his plan as they were assembled along the curb. I could hear the now familiar sound of military vehicles closing in.

    Tears soon reinforced that this was going to be the start of taking our country back.

    I put my glasses on and read the spray painted words next to Billy.

    “All I dare hope is that if, in executing this task…”

  7. The flag felt rough against Joey’s naked arms after he draped it over his shoulders. He had done this the last six years so he’d never forget. He looked down at the red and white stripes and field of blue with fifty stars. Tears welled and Joey saw a flag draped coffin carried by Marines. A lump rose in his throat.

    His father smiled, held him close and whispered that he was now the man of the house. Joey swore to take care of his mother and two little sisters, then stood brave and tall to salute his uniformed hero. He turned ten the day his father marched away.

    Joey was twelve when they carried his dad from the plane. Stars and stripes covered the military issue casket. He ran into the woods after the ceremony and cried.

    Freedom’s price is blood and death, echoed in his ears. Tomorrow he’d head for boot camp, to continue his vow to his father. He was going to keep every mother, sister and brother safe. Joey kissed the flag and his father’s proud face.

  8. With liberty and justice for all. That’s what they taught in school. Home was a different story. Only those who fit dad’s mold of the ideal man were accepted. Pumping iron was mandatory. It made me look good and was great bonding time with my brothers, but a word of encouragement from him would have been nice. My brothers lived up to Dad’s expectations and followed his footsteps into the service. I tried to please him, but nothing I did was good enough, not even stellar grades.

    College was expensive and dad wouldn’t pay a dime. Said the military was the only way to go. Living a lie isn’t for me, so that was never an option. They don’t want my kind. My brothers understood, so did Mom. She used her own money to help. The rest was up to me. I found a way.

    The stars and stripes weren’t the only ones flying when he saw the picture of me in my faded blue jeans and white tank top, old glory draped over my shoulders. Dad freaked out, said I disgusted him. Sorry Dad, it’s a land of opportunity and modeling paid for college.

    It’s been years since I posed for that photograph. All the college loans are paid off and I make more money than I need. My family visits often. Dad still refuses. Maybe one day he’ll accept me for who I am. I’ll be here waiting when he does. Until then, I’ll remain true to me.

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