My Father’s Flag

Mary Vayo- Grandmother of Joe Reinart

With the death of bin Laden, we have been looking back at what happened on 9/11.  The company my husband works for, Marsh had one of its offices in the twin towers of the World Trade Center. My husband lost 295 colleagues that day. The attack also prompted my son to enlist in the Ohio National Guard.

After September 11th, a flag was raised at ground zero. Just before my son left for his deployment to Iraq, my father (WWII veteran) passed away. My son was part of the honor guard that handed my father’s flag to my mother.  When my son returned from Iraq, my mother returned the favor and handed my son, my father’s flag. Whenever I see our country’s flag, my heart swells and my eyes tear. God bless our troops and our veterans.

Excerpt from “Boots To Ground” in Love You More Than You Know:

The sweet mournful sound of taps honored my father’s leaving, echoing in the cold December morning. The silence was shattered by a color guard firing a twenty-one-gun salute. Our country’s flag fluttered, as it lay draped over the casket of a hero, Joseph Vayo, a Navy veteran of WWII. 

Reverently, the color guard folded this bright symbol of freedom into a triangle.  My son, Specialist Joseph Reinart, Ohio Army National Guard, stepped briskly forward to receive the flag. Turning to my mother, Joe said, “ On behalf of the President of the United States of America, I present you with this flag for your husband’s faithful service to our country.  May God bless you, and I love you, Grandma.”

Just weeks later, Joe was leaving.  My son, my father’s namesake, was being deployed to the Middle East to serve his country. . .  Joe’s homecoming was February 11, 2005, a wonderful Valentine’s Day present.  In the crowded cafeteria at a school in Youngstown, teary eyed, my Mom presented Joe with my Father’s flag for his faithful service to our country.

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