Talking Proud Photo Gallery - Our love of country, our patriotism


Kids love patriotism, the flag, Motherhood and apple pie. Don't let anyone tell you differently.


Once a Marine, always a Marine. A living, breathing page of American history! Roy Hawthorne, Navajo Code Talker. USMC. He walked the 2 mile parade route. Two Navajo Marines are helping him with the last 1/2 mile.


Standing proud for America, when many in American did not stand for him. Jesse Owens, USA, Berlin Olympics 1936. Owens won four Gold Medals in the 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and the long jump. He managed to break or equal nine Olympic records and also set three world records. One of those world records was in the 4x100m relay. Owens salted the American flag during the National Anthem while the German medalist did the Heil Hitler. Owens, the son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, achieved what no Olympian before him had accomplished. Hitler planned to show the world that the Aryan people were the dominant race, Jesse Owens proved him wrong and sealed his place in Olympic history by becoming the most successful athlete of the 1936 Games. Jesse Owens died of lung cancer in 1980. Since then a street and a school have been named after him in Berlin, two US postage stamps have been issued in his honour, and a memorial park has been opened in Alabama, amongst other tributes.


An American veteran, he understands.


Forever loyal. C.D. Studyvin, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, salutes the U.S. flag during a Memorial Day ceremony at El Paso Cemetery in Derby, Kansas, May 26, 2014.


The colors. Like the rest of America, and its Navy, a symbol of strength.


Always proud, always a patriot. Veteran Saluting the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance


Up yours! This American born, Veteran of the United States Army, law abiding, taxpaying citizen was told by his Homeowners Association that he could not fly the American flag in his yard … This was his response


The Colors for the fini flight. Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 269 Marines bids fair winds and following seas to the UH-1N Huey on it final flight with the squadron with a parade across the skies of Marines Corps Air Station New River, February 5, 2013.


We humbly salute you, sir. You and all those with you saved us and our nation from the horrors of tyranny. We owe you and we won’t let you down.


The 2002 Floral Flag of Lompoc, California: 740 feet wide and 390 feet high and maintained the proper flag dimensions as described in executive order #10834. This flag was 6.65 acres and was the first floral flag to be planted with 5 pointed stars, each star was 24 feet in diameter and each stripe 30 feet wide. This flag was estimated to contain more than 400,000 Larkspur plants with 4-5 flower stems each for a total of more than 2 million flowers. It's life span was approximately 3 months and went to seed in early August 2002.

Happy July 4, USA! 3-17 Air Cav “Silver Spurs” fly our Nation's Flag in the vicinity of Baghdad, Iraq, July 4, 2008, Via CW3 Michael Montoya Jr. That’s an OH-58D Kiowa, a dual-role helicopter used as a scout and full-blown attack helicopter. Presented by Northwest Vets.

We love ya, Lt. Dan! An American Patriot. Sgt. Maj. Robert Prosser, USA, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team sergeant major, shakes actor Gary Sinise's hand after presenting him with the American flag and a special unit coin on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009. Sinise visited wounded soldiers in Kandahar, Afghanistan, after performing with his band, "The Lt. Dan Band." Sinise was awarded the Presidential Citizen Medal by George W. Bush for work he did supporting the U.S Military and humanitarian work supporting Iraqi children. Sinise is the Executive Producer—along with David Scantling—of the Iraq War documentary "Brothers at War." The film features an American military family and the experiences of three brothers: Jake Rademacher, Isaac Rademacher and Joseph Rademacher. In 2009, Sinise co-narrated the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in Washington, D.C. with Joe Mantegna. Sinise currently serves as the National Spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. He spends much of his time raising awareness for the Memorial and other veterans' service organizations. Sinise has narrated Army and Army Reserve recruitment ads. In November 2009, Sinise narrated the highly acclaimed World War II in HD on the History Channel. Photo credit: Sgt. Chris Florence, USA (112709)

Chaplain (Captain) Emil Kapaun recommended for Medal of Honor, service in Korea. Korean War veterans have recommended Chaplain (Captain) Emil Kapaun, USA, for the Medal of Honor for service in the Korean War. Peter Geren, a former secretary of the Army, has followed up on that and also recommended him. The recommendation goes next to the secretary of defense and then, if forwarded, on to the president. Earlier this year, I did a story entitled, "God traveled with us and we knew it," which addressed how our chaplains served in that war. One of the chaplains I highlighted was Chaplain Kapaun. I commend the story to you. Their service on behalf of our military people is far more important than most of us realize. At one end of the spectrum, they serve as counselors and conduct religious services as most men and women of the cloth do. At the other end of the spectrum, they prepare our combatants to meet God. Their story is one of great courage and compassion. Their heroics are known to only a few. I should also mention that in the right column of this page I acquaint you with a book, Tear in the Desert, by Father Ron Camarada. I commend that to you. (101609)

Teaching kids patriotism is important, often done by the example of another. Young Jack Connally, Col. Thomas J. Connally's son, poses in the Marine dress blue uniform his mother made for him. Jack has expressed interest in becoming a Marine when he is older. Look at the pride in his face. Oh yes, note how the Old Man made his kid a Lance Corporal. That’s OK, lance corporal’s are among our very best combat leaders in the Marines, out there in the fight. (062109)

We lost a Great American today, Jackie Kemp, a patriot of the highest order. I'm a Buffalo boy and a conservative, and Jackie did it all for me. He played for the Buffalo Bills from 1962-69; I went to college in Buffalo '62-'66, and went down to the old War Memorial Stadium, the old "Rockpile," to urge him on every play to "trow da bomb, Jackie!" He led the Bills to the 1964 and 1965 AFL Championships. He was named AFL Player-of-the Year in 1965 and established nearly every team passing mark during the 1960s. He went on to represent Buffalo as a member of the House of Representatives for 18 years. He was Bob Dole's running mate on the Republican Party's 1996 Presidential ticket. Best of all, he was a conservative with a heart, a leader to whom many looked for guidance and a better understanding of the fundamental principles that made America great. He was enthusiastic, aggressive, a live wire. Jackie Kemp was alive! We love ya Jackie. We know you're in a better place, but listen, teach them up there to "trow da bomb, Jackie!" I'm looking forward to catching one from you. Ed Marek, editor. (050309)

Son accepts dad's Silver Star. Jase Spargur, 6, accepts the Silver Star (posthumous) on behalf of his late father, 1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom, USA from Major General Brian Tarbet, USA, April 29, 2009. Lt. Brostrom was with the 2-503 Infantry (Airborne) and killed in a firefight in Afghanistan on July 13, 2008. His unit was attacked by a superior enemy force. Brostrom was positioned well, in a fairly safely position to return fire. However, he learned several of his men at an observaiton post were under heavy fire and in trouble, so he ferried medical supplies and ammunition across a 100-yard stretch between the two positions when he was hit and killed. Jase's mother, Lindsey Spargur was with Jase. The ceremony was held at Kanesville Elementary School in West Haven, Utah. (050109)

An "All American" All American, 82 Airborne! Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Lt. Col. James "Maggie" Megellas, the most decorated soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division, the All American Division, in World War II, addresses the patrons of the Dallas Military Ball after being presented their meritorious service award, April 18, 2009. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Colonel Megellas has received the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Belgium Fourragère, and the Presidential Unit Citation. "All the way" Maggie! Photo credit: PO1 Chad J. McNeeley, USN (042209)

We'll take this mission together. CWO2 Josh Miller, USA, 3-159 Aviation, prepares an American flag for his mission over Basra, Iraq. Photo credit: Spc Karah Cohen. (102908)

Anywhere USA! I seldom post photos sent to me when I don't know the source or the event, but this is priceless, sent by a friend. This could be anywhere in our country, the Big Guy driving his tractor in a parade, pulling his puppy in a small red wagon behind, everyone sporting the Stars and Stripes! These guys are "Drivin' Proud!" (102108)

Kids love patriotism. Teach 'em. Sydney Mae Kalamei Steffen, 20 mos., celebrates July 4, 2008 at the Rancho Carrillo Parade, Carlsbad, California. Sydney is the daughter of Lt. Colonel Wallace Steffan, USAFR, and Krista Steffen. Krista is the daughter of a retired USAF colonel and Air Force Academy graduate. Patriotism is in the blood of this family, and that has transferred to young Sydney. We all need to teach kids patriotism. Leadership by example is all they need. I have written about this several times and will continue to harp on it. As an aside, I highlighted Sydney's mom, Krista, in our Patriot Photo Gallery some time ago, "A cheerleader for America." Here it is again. That's Sydney's mom there! Like mom, like daughter. (091108)

A cheerleader for America. The woman in the center is Krista Dee Christy-Steffen, a flight attendant with United Airlines (UAL) since 1989. She is a graduate of Wiesbaden High School, in Germany, and James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and is within one year of receiving her nursing degree from the University of Hawaii. Her husband, Wallace, is an ex-Air Force KC-135 tanker pilot and currently an UAL captain. They live in Hawaii, where Krista is active supporting Special Olympics. She is the daughter of an Air Force family. This recent photo shows Krista armed up and ready to go, carrying troops from George AFB to Frankfurt, after which they go on to Iraq. Krista led her UAL crew in decorating the airplane with stars and stripes and in going to local restaurants in Victorville, California to get some top-drawer food for the troops in flight. She said she has never had a better flying experience, and you can tell from these three troopers that they understand what they're fighting for. Krista is one of many, many Americans cheering for our troops to bring home victory as fast as they can, with dispatch. No talk here about withdrawal timetables. Only about thrashing the enemy and getting back home safe and sound, with victory safely tucked under every trooper's arms. Let's hear it for America! We're tops.

National Anthem first, soccer second. Two U.S. Army soldiers hold up the American flag during the playing of the national anthem before a soccer game between U.S soldiers and citizens of Zaab, Iraq, July 11, 2008. The soldiers are assigned to the 1-87 Infantry, 1 BCT, 10th Mountain. They have played a series of soccer games with Iraqi teams. Photo credit: Pfc. Kaimana Kalauli, USA.

Midway American Patriot Award. U.S. Medal of Honor recipients, from top left, retired Marine Cpl. Hershel "Woody'" Williams, retired Army 1st Lt. Vernon J. Baker, retired Army Staff Sgt. Walter D. Ehlers, retired Army 1st Lt. Charles Patrick Murray Jr., from bottom left, retired Army 2nd Lt. Van T. Barfoot, retired Navy Lt. John Finn, and retired Marine Pfc. Arthur Jackson aboard the USS Midway Museum, May 24, 2008, where they received the museum's Midway American Patriot Award. This award is a tribute to Medal of Honor recipients of WWII. Photo credit: Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer R. Hudson, USN

Meet an American patriot, an American Marine general: Meet Lieutenant General John Castellaw, USMC. He retired on May 9, 2008, after 36 years service. A Tennessee boy, a 1972 graduate of the University of Tennessee, appropriately named the "Volunteers." A Marine aviator and helicopter driver; a commander for the 3rd Marine Division; deputy commander, Marine Forces Pacific; deputy commander, Marine Forces Central Command; commander 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing; Chief of Staff, Central Command; and deputy commandant of the Marine Corps, Programs and Resources. As a helicopter flier and advocate of the V-22 Osprey, he says, "It's always harder to shoot a rabbit runnin' than standin' still."

In case you've never seen a hero, here is one, Major Dominique Dionne. Col. David Sutherland, commander of the 3rd “Grey Wolf” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, leans in to speak to Major Dominique Dionne, commander of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 5th Iraqi Army Military Transition Team, attached to 3rd BCT, after awarding Dionne the Purple Heart for wounds received on August 9, 2007. Dionne spotted one of his soldiers being threatened by an enemy shooter, jumped out of his vehicle trying to catch the soldier's attention and warn him. The shooter changed his mind and shot Dionne, hitting him in the jaw. His troops quickly communicated that their commander was down, hovered around him, bandaged him up, got him out of there, and continued the fight. Dionne is back at home in Fort Hood, Texas, with the Wounded Warrior Unit, and making his way back into 3rd BCT. Photo courtesy of Maj. Dominique Dionne. Dionne has said, “I was trying to take care of my team and make sure they were all aware of what was going on around them. Those are my guys and I love them.” Dionne survived and at last check, was trying to get reactivated with his old unit. Presented by Ft. Hood.

The motivator in my room at NKP Thailand - Get 'em. I lived in a trailer at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, NKP RTAFB, Thailand, while stationed with Det. 3, 6994th Security Squadron, flying aboard the EC-47 "Electric Goons." We didn't have much trouble getting motivated, but if I or my roommate got depressed or started feeling sorry for ourselves, "Oh gee ain't life awful," all we needed to do was look at this and we were ready to suit up, get in the air, and shoot our six guns at the enemy below. I cried through the Homecoming of our POWs --- such courage, such valor, such loyalty to God and country. You know what? They never gave up. They never let their enemy defeat them. Instead, they defeated their enemies. That is a legacy we need to hold dear today. And I don’t care how the try to write history, US armed forces and their allies defeated the enemy in the Indochina War. Don’t let anyone tell you any different --- we walloped them! (110907)

Sergeant, don't fly me out, reenlist me first. Cpl. Gareth Hawkins, USMC, 23, 3-1 Marines, demanded to reenlist before being medically evacuated. His vehicle was hit by an IED, shattering his right leg on June 2, 2007. The Battalion Executive Officer, Maj. Kevin Gonzalez, along with the Career Retention Specialist Staff Sgt. Chandrash Malapaka, and others were present to reenlist Hawkins before evacuating him to a better hospital. Major Gonzalez said he did the short version! Hawkins took the oath of enlistment by 1st Lt. Warren A. Frank, his platoon commander. With no time for the usual formalities of backslaps and handshakes, Hawkins was immediately carried out via litter and evacuated. Thanks to the 13th MEU for the coverage.

We salute you, Sir. Iraq war veteran Major David Rozelle crosses the finish line of the Army Ten-Miler race in Arlington, Virginia, October 7, 2007. Maj. Rozelle is the team captain of the Missing Parts In Action (MPIA) group, which is made up of military amputees. With 26,000 participants from around the world, the race is the largest ten-mile race in the U.S. and the second largest in the world. Photo credit: Molly Riley, Reuters

This war is a family matter, and our fighting families are very proud: This was the window display on March 29, 2007 in a store in Hayward, Wisconsin, a neat all-American town. (070407)

Here's how they do Flag Day in Appleton, Wisconsin: A crowd of 60,000 people filled the city of Appleton, Wisconsin on June 10, 2007, to celebrate the city's sesquicentennial and the annual Flag Day Parade. This "float" from Festival Foods sports a shopping cart powered by a spit-and-polish chrome plated engine and a beer keg to hold the gas. In the cart above are workers showing their pride in America. Up here in northern mid-America, they ate 4,000 brats, they saluted their recipient of the Medal of Honor, Ken Stumpf, and all whom he represents, they celebrated the parade, the people, the flag, and wonderful bands. Moms, dad, grandmas and grandpas came, and they brought their kids to show them how much fun it is to be a patriot, and how great it is to celebrate their blessings. We live over 100 miles away, but we were there celebrating with them. (061107)

Meet Teresa Goforth, a patriot doing all she can. "We have taken our heroes under our wings for the sacrifice they have made fighting for our freedom." Teresa Goforth formed The US Wounded Soldier Foundation, and along with Assistant Directors Peggy Moore and Laura Schmalz, they are dedicating their efforts to assisting the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have been wounded in the war zones. Teresa is an American Airlines cabin attendent. (050807)

"The battle here in the US is as important as the battle in Iraq." Meet Shawn Wiedenhoeft and his son of Wausau, Wisconsin. Shawn was a Marine aviator. He flew 40 combat missions in Operation Desert Storm in the AV-8B Harrier. He left the Marines and joined the National Guard. He just returned from a 15 month deployment abroad, one year of which was in Kuwait, and has since retired. He wants America to know that there are a lot of people who want victory in Iraq. He protested the protesters in Wausau, Wisconsin on March 17, 2007. He and his son stood alone against about 100 protesters in the town's square. More of us need to get up off our duffies and get out there. As Shawn has told us, "The battle here in the US is as important as the battle in Iraq." (031807)

From the cover of the Military Officer, the official magazine of the Military Officers of America Association, "One powerful voice," the March 2007 edition.

We should have mobilized as a nation from the start of the Iraqi invasion. Our fighting forces do not fight alone. They fight with the citizens back home leading their way. If you have not yet mobilized your support for them, please do it now. Bring your neighbors on board. Our warfighters need us at home in order to fight and win abroad. They know their duty. They do their duty. We have to do ours. Give them everything they need to achieve victory, and nothing less. Provide no quarter for our enemies. No warfighting on the cheap. Sacrifice at home. Take down this enemy, all the way down. Fight against any American in government who is not supporting our forces in their fight for victory, their fight to win, their fight to survive. The editor. (030207)

You understand what dat means? Supporting our troops means helping them achieve victory in our war, which means helping them destroy our enemies. It's not just a bunch of words. You're not just serving up pabulum. When you say you support our troops, you can only mean you will do everything in your power to help them destroy our enemies. That's the way they felt at this trailer in downtown Tomahawk, Wisconsin, during the "Rumble at the River" Fall Ride this past weekend sponsored by Harley Davidson. (091806)

Warrior Ethos: On June 28, 2005, enemy forces in the Koringal Valley of Afghanistan shot down an US Army Chinook helicopter with a US Army Special Forces team aboard. Among others, 63 paratroopers from Company C, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, went to the scene. All souls aboard the downed helicopter were lost. All were accounted for and recovered. During the operation, a Company C paratrooper found this "Warrior Ethos" tag carried by one of those lost. It reads as follows:

"I will always place the mission first.

"I will never accept defeat.

"I will never quit.

"I will never leave a fallen comrade."

The sounds and sights of a grateful nation. Flag-waving supporters on the Alabama Street overpass on Interstate 5 in Bellingham, Washington, cheer for the escorts of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., July 12, 2006. Next chance, talk to some Vietnam Veterans. You will find they have risen from the war in our society and our economy; they are proud of their service; they are united in their loyalty to each other and those who fell; they stand on a pedestal far above anything that could be achieved by those citizens who fought against them during and after that war. They are truly winners, always have been. Photo credit: Rachel E. Bayne, The Bellingham Herald. (071306)

What a group! This is a crew from VMO-6 (Marine Observation Squadron Six) following a rescue mission they flew aboard a Huey UH-1E helicopter gunship on August 19, 1967. Right to left, meet these Americans. Their names are followed by the medal they received for their valor on this mission: Capt. Stephen W. Pless, pilot, Medal of Honor; Capt. Rupert E. Fairfield, co-pilot, Navy Cross; LCpl John G. Phelps, crew chief; Gunnery Sergeant Leroy N. Poulson, gunner, Navy Cross. The USMC Combat Helicopter Association has the accounts of each of these men on-line. We simply wanted you to see these men and know of their valor. They came from our home towns. They always have. (061506)

The last enlisted Marine Vietnam veteran on active duty retires: Master Sergeant Randall Arnold of Charlottesville, Virginia retired from the US Marine Corps on July 1, 2005. He enlisted in the Marines on January 21, 1969. He served at Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam (RVN) in 1970, and with the 2nd Republic of Korea (ROK) Marine Brigade "Blue Dragons" at Hoi An. It is hard to imagine there are no more enlisted Vietnam veterans on active duty in the Marines, but that's where we are. We don';t know how we missed this historic retirement last year. Our apologies to Sergeant Arnold and his family. God's speed and thank you for your service. (062006)

The greatest play in baseball. On April 25, 1976, with the Chicago Cubs visiting the Los Angels Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, two young men raced to the middle of the outfield (shown on the right in this photo), placed an American flag saturated with lighter fluid on the ground, and tried to light the flag on fire. Seeing what was going on, Rick Monday, the center-fielder for the Cubs, began running to the position of the two young men. Their first attempt to light the flag on fire failed --- the wind blew their lighter out. Just as they were making the second attempt, Rick Monday arrived at their position, and instead of bowling the two young men over, which he thought about doing, he grabbed the flag on the run (shown on the left of the photo) and ran away from them. Just as Monday pulled away from the two, Tommy Lasorda, at that time the third base coach for LA, arrived on the scene, calling these guys "every name in the longshoreman's encyclopedia," according to Monday. Lasorda commented, " When I got there, I see these two guys and I told them, 'Why don't one of you guys take a swing at me?' because there were 50-something thousand people in the ballpark and I only wanted them to swing at me, so I could defend myself and do a job on them." (052506)

That's a patriot, that's "The Shirt." They're both patriots, but the guy in the red hat is this editor's First Sergeant extraordinaire, Pete Chamlee, MSgt., USAF (Ret.). He's in VFW Post 8248, LaMarque, Texas, where every good Shirt belongs. The guy next to him is Bob Lackey. The Ol' Shirt has his coveralls on, his glasses hanging from a pocket with a considerable coolness factor, his red ball cap, and a brewski, with a USAF F-4 Phantom II photograph hanging on the wall behind him. The Shirt looks good, don't he? Proud of ya, Shirt! (022506)

What's that you were saying, Osami? Bring me your skinny left kneecap you ugly bearded Saudi numbskull. I'll feed your buns to the rats and leave your innards to the flies. C'mon sweet-pea, come by and see me on Rockland Road, Rockland, Virginia, in Shenandoah country. I dare you! I'm waitin for ya, honey-pie. Photo credit: Ed Marek, Marek Enterprise. (012205)

Rembrance and Renewal. Canadian ceremonial dancer Harvey Thunderchild sits near the Colin Gibson sculpture, Remembrance and Renewal, at the Juno Beach Center in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2005. Thunderchild is participating in the Aboriginal Spirtual Journey, a visit by Aboriginal veterans to battlefields in Europe. Photo credit: Andrew Vaughan, CP-AP

Life's good here in the USA. Good morning America, how are you? Pretty damn good, thanks for asking! Photo credit: Ed Marek, Marek Enterprise

All-American silo. It's a beautiful day in Marathon County, Wisconsin, made more beautiful by the uplifting message sent by this silo and the people who painted it on Hansen Road, Harrison 4610. Photo credit: Marek Enterprise

We win. Terrorists lose. A firefighter waves a US flag below the "Tribute in Light" memorial across from the World Trade Center site. Photo credit: Stan Honda, AFP

Let's go USA. Martin Elliott of Tuscaloosa cheers on the U.S. team in the second half of their 2006 World Cup qualifying match against Guatemala at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, March 30, 2005. The U.S. defeated Guatemala, 2-0. Photo credit: Tami Chappell, Reuters

Rootin' tootin' Canada

One mean machine. This is a MH-53J "Pave Low" helicopter of the United States Air Force. It is a modified version of the HH-53 Super Jolly Green Giant, a heavy lift helicopter which was used extensively during the Vietnam War. The MH-53J's mission is to perform low-level, long-range, undetected penetration into denied areas, day or night, in adverse weather, for infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces. It is used for a variety of missions, usually in conjunction with special operations . Photo provided by Mark Schibler, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret.)

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice! U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist walks down the red carpet to the presidential inauguration platform on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2005. Rehnquist, courageously battling cancer, administered the oath of office to President Bush. We admire his courage, we admire his sense of duty, we admire his commitment and loyalty to our country. Photo credit: Jason Reed, Reuters

The few, the proud, the Marines. Casey Owens, a wounded marine, salutes as his mother Janna Owens cries during the inaugural speech by U.S. President George W. Bush on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 20, 2005. Photo credit: Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

He gave more than most for this day. Double amputee Army Sgt. Manuel Mendoza of Boonville, CA, raises his hand as he is sworn in as a U.S. citizen while the rest of his family stands beside his wheelchair at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, December 13, 2004. Mendoza, who was born in Mexico, was wounded in Iraq in early October when a roadside bomb caused the vehicle he was traveling in to roll over. Photo credit: Kevin Lamarque, Reuters

Flag on the Shenandoah. In Clarke County, Virginia, just as you cross into the county from the east, having passed over the northern reaches of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you come upon the mighty Shenandoah River heading north for its meeting with the Potomac. There is a road off to the left (south), called River Road, that follows the Shenandoah upstream for a while. Along the banks of the river are a host of very small lots used by families and organizations for small picnics or just to enjoy the day. This shot was taken on November 29, 2004, so it was a little cool, a weekday, and no one there but your editor, his SUV, and this lone American flag flying proudly, as the mighty current flowed downstream. The Stars and Stripes here has endured some flooding, and she still flies, which is the name of that tune! Photo credit: Marek Enterprise

Flag of Heroes at the New York State Chili Cookoff! The American flag and a chili cookoff. You can't get much more American than that. Kathy and Mike Freedman take the flag wherever they go, inscribed with the names of all emergency service personnel who perished trying to save lives during the 9.11 attack against America. The Freedmans report many people stop to talk to them about the flag. Photo credit: The Freedmans of New York, presented by the Flags of Honor and Heroes website.

Freedom flight. With three American flags on board his F-15 Eagle, Lt. Col. Matt Meloy prepares for a mission at a forward deployed location in Southwest Asia. "I have two in the front of the canopy to represent my two kids and I carry one on me for my wife," said Meloy. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen, USAF

The flag, standing proudly on the Slanesville Road in West Virginia's mountains, unarmed, alone, and not at all afraid. It is an uplifting experience to drive along some of our nation's most rural roads, and see the Stars and Stripes pop up like this. Whizzing by, we caught the Colors out of the corner of the eye, and had to turn around and come back and pop a salute and take a pic. Photo credit: Marek Enterprise. October 25, 2004

If you like, the raging Eagle can be everywhere. Here is he, on an N&B Paving Truck's hood, on a gravel road named Furnace Mountain Road, in Virginia, near the Potomac River. The driver is one big guy, nice as can be, but if you want him mad, he'll come that way too. Photo credit: Marek Enterprise.

They teach patriotism in Lakewood, Ohio. This young girl is leading a gaggle of young kids similarly outfitted on their bikes during the Cleveland suburb's July 4th day parade, 2004. Photo credit: Marek Enterprise.

"Air Jordan" honored with a special flag. Michael Jordan holds a U.S. flag, given to him by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld before Jordan's last home game. That was not just any American flag, sports fans. That was the flag that flew over the Pentagon on 9-11.Americans love a pro, a winner, a role model, and that kind of pro loves his country and his countrymen. We love you, Michael! Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP April 16, 2003.