Many folks have asked why we have two American flags along our driveway. Pride has usually been my answer, but the real answer is more than that. Not only could I say pride, but I could say there is one for my wife and one for me. I could say each flag is in honor of each of our two wonderful adopted daughters who have developed into fine adults. Both of our daughters had to face life threatening diseases during their teen years so I could say the flags represent each of their long struggles and their successful battles. Crosses would be better for that though. Then again, I could say that my ten years in the US Navy which was nicely split with six of those ten years doing service with the US Marines as a Navy Corpsman would be an excellent reason to fly two American flags.

All are viable reasons, but let’s go to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida in 1973. I was in the US Navy working as a physical therapy assistant, quite young, and very immature, had already been in multiple countries, and was quite full of myself. At that duty station my life changed forever by one man. I learned the full meaning of humility, tolerance, pain, forgiveness, fear, pride and above all freedom; I mean enough pride to fly two flags 24/7 for years. One very special patient needed to talk during his therapy sessions and I listened, I watched, and I learned. Some days he was more subdued than others, but he nearly always gave thumbs up to other patients who seemed to be having trouble that day. That one person is the reason we fly two flags-one for my family and me while the other is in his honor. He taught me and others who would listen what patriotism really means. That is why I have two American flags along our driveway. I thank you John McCain.

-Rudy Stackhouse