This letter is the first to reach us from a man I met in church in mid-December of 2001, when he was home on leave. It reflects the kind of response we are getting from anyone who receives a Pocket Flag.

December 23, 2001

As I reflect upon this Christmas Season, I cannot help but be reminded that for Many Americans, this is not the only Christmas which has been enveloped in the most unfortunate situation of war. Indeed, for many soldiers and sailors down through the years, Christmas was spent thousands of miles from home, under hostile and uncertain conditions. I have often ruminated on how these men and women kept Christmastide in those times, and perhaps this year more than any. Did they all receive gifts or sentiments from home? Were some of them able to speak to family members? Or were some of them taking shelter from mortar fire, uncertain if this would be their last Christmas? Were they lonely? Were they assured of support from back home?

While in Church just recently with my sister, I was approached by a woman after the service had ended. She obviously had recognized my Navy uniform and my sister's Army uniform. I blush to own that I failed to get the woman's name, but she presented my sister and I with these miniature flags, carefully folded in a most patriotic manner and accompanied by an article and your den's card. As you may imagine, we were both very moved by this gesture, but even more importantly we were reminded of the patriotism that such a seemingly small gift can elicit. As members of your armed forces, we both feel certain that this gift which you have given is sure to make the hearts of all G.I.'s that they reach, swell with pride. Indeed one Romanian journalist recently observed the magnitude of American pride in the face of the terrible tragedies of late in an article he wrote: "The solidarity of the American Spirit turned them into a choir. On every Occasion they started singing their traditional song 'God Bless America'! Actually, choir is not the word. What you could hear was the heavy artillery of the American Soul."

My dear pack 402, we are filled with gratitude at your gift and reaffirm our oaths we took to defend our country. Should your courses in life lead you to follow in our footsteps in the service of this great country, I can only hope such a glad and patriotic gift should one day be given to you.

Kindest regards,

RH USN