Our Flag

I was just lying awake, like usual at 3 in the morning, looking through some of our photos for the millionth time, and was noticing how in so many of them the American Flag has made its appearance. These were just a few...
From when we were first dating, the flag has followed us. There are the tattered flags held by what we called our "Freedom Bears."

Even in one of our favorite photos, Frankie's shirt slightly displays the waving American flag, in the lettering.

On our wedding day we had this beautiful time where he was holding me, and we were looking out into the San Diego Harbor, and feeling so blessed that we had become an eternal husband and wife. The flag, looming above us, perhaps representing what would come.
On our honeymoon, which was such a beautiful time in our lives, we captured our appreciation for our "Freedom Lizard," and we also stood in front of a giant backdrop of the American flag for a fun photo-op.

And now, that flag that we so love, that flag that has made an appearance, and seemed to almost haunt us... is forever embedded in our love. It is a symbol of a beautiful country, a beautiful love, a hero's blood given for the love of his country and his fellow men. A flag he was proud to serve.
A flag I proudly display. A flag that on April 16, 2009 was taken from my husband's casket, folded into a perfect triangle, and presented to me with honor, love, and respect. A flag that haunts me; that reminds me daily of what it truly means to love the United States of America. And, I love it --- I love it with all of my heart and soul.

I am so proud of him. So proud.

Love you baby. With every setting sun, my love grows for you.

"The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights. It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life. It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, but of a history." -Woodrow Wilson-


Julie said...

I was just reflecting this morning on our flag and how much it means to me. And I was thinking about you, Frankie, and the flags you and John now have. At the store today Will pointed up to the huge flying flag and I said, "Flag. The American flag. That's our flag because we live in America." How amazing then to come home and read this blog! I love you, Brooke!

Beau & Lenette said...

God Bless America! My girls always point out every American flag that they see! Even Kerrigan is starting to point them out. I am so greatful that we have such a beautiful symbol for our country. Thank-you for the sacrifice that your sweet husband made to keep our flag flying! I love you my friend!s

Mrs P said...

This was absolutely beautiful. So much love to you, girl.

Bernie said...

God Bless. Be strong. There is true evil in the world and their is true good in the world. Thank-you for being part of the good, thank-you for your husbands service. Be succesful, our Country needs you.

Seabee Veteran of Vietnam and the Gulf War era.

Erin Kirkby said...

Though I don't know you and I am across the border, I just want to thank your husband , you, and your families of the sacrifice that was made that day and everyday since. A close friend of mine also gave his life for our countries in Afghanistan in 2006 when his hum-v hit a mine. My thought's and prayers to you and yours. God bless. Erin.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Toner,

I learned of your husband's sacrifice through a shared photo posted on Facebook and a Google search lead me to a USN Institute article that carried this link.

The loss of your husband is a terrible sacrifice and I wanted to say how sorry I am to learn of your loss. My daughter is married to a former Airman and I have learned from him some of what your husband must have faced. I'm trying to figure out what say that adequately sums up my own gratitude for his service and it's just not there. Instead, I will just say thank you. Whenever God tires of watching over you, I'm certain that your husband will continue to until you can be together again.

May God keep & protect you and yours.

A humbled American.

Anonymous said...

Brooke- Today I am thankful for your husband and the sacrifice he made to our country. I am deployed to the same FOB where he was stationed and I wanted you to know that thoughts and prayers are going out to him, and Lt Choe, as we dedicate a 5k memorial run in their honor. Thank you for your support and most importantly for your husband.

DeRosa080208 said...

Brooke this was beautiful. I feel so blessed to know you and have known Frankie. Every time I read one of your posts I always feel so humbled. Stay strong and know that God loves you and someday you will be reunited with the love of your life.