Monday, September 12, 2011

Letter from Shelley on 911

Hello family,

Just thought I would share with you what I saw today while traveling from Santa Rosa to Livermore, to Manteca, and back to Santa Rosa:

Today I saw two things that really struck me, first, the amount of American Flags everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Our entire neighborhood had their flags up, almost every freeway overpass had an American flag either standing on a flagpole or hanging down over the overpass for oncoming traffic to see. The more affluent communities, like Danville, San Ramon, and Alamo, had beautiful live red roses intertwined on the overpass railings for the drivers to enjoy, with small flags in between the roses, and a huge flag hanging down in the middle. In Tracy there is a huge cross that is burned into the landscape, it says "Jesus saves", and it had 8 American flags all around it. In Vallejo at the marina, all the boats had their American flag flying at half mast. In Manteca, the city purchased 2,000 (yes I did say 2,000) 8' American flags that were standing 15' apart all the way down main street on both sides, and all the way down the center of town on both sides. The city had installed small flag holders into the sidewalks. Wish I had my camera for that one, it was amazing, talk about small town patriotism, and with the wind gently blowing, it really captured your attention. Amazingly, on one freeway overpass, there was a Priest or minister holding and waving a large American flag with one hand and pointing to Heaven with the other. No joke.

When Kevin was in Afghanistan I started to notice the American flag much more than usual, and of course, it took on a whole new meaning for me. Suddenly I was seeing the flag everywhere I went, having never paid much attention before he was deployed. Now I can't take my eyes off of the flag when I see it. Not only does it remind me what a great country America is, but also how proud we are of Kevin and all the other soldiers out there, and how lucky our family is that Kevin came home safely, unlike many other soldiers who didn't come home alive, may they rest in peace.

Here is the 2nd thing that struck me today. My spiritual self, loves to notice white birds, especially Egrets, and Egrets love to hang out on both sides of Hwy 37 and along my drive to the Benicia bridge while I am driving to visit my parents. The reason a white bird, especially one that is in flight, captures my attention so much is that it makes me think of the Holy Spirit. It makes me think that someday when we all die, we will be free and in flight in heaven, just like birds are here on Earth. When I know someone who has just died, like our friend John Sutherland who died recently at age 62, and I witness a beautiful white bird in flight, it makes me think of that person, and that they are free now. It's kind of hard to explain, but the bird is telling me that the person's spirit is out there and very happy.

So of course, I look high and low for my friends the Egrets, and do I ever see any? No, hardly ever, and if I do see them, there may be one or two, or perhaps on a good day there will be 3 along my drive. But not on this day, Sept 11th, the 10th anniversary of one of our nation's worst tragedies. Today I see literally HUNDREDS of Egrets, many in flight, along Hwy 37, some beautifully gliding right next to my car, and I can tell you that what popped into my mind was the spirit of all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. What an unbelievable sight, reminding me of all whose lives were lost on that tragic day. We have lived in Santa Rosa since 1988, and never until today have I ever seen hundreds of Egrets along my drive. Funny how God reminds me of his Holy Spirit.

Love to all,