he valley was clear and green, light clouds skittered across the sky and the day was warm in the morning sun.  A meadow lark called to its mate near by, and the air was fresh and clean.  Old Glory flapped and fluttered in sunshine once again.

There was no smell of smoke, no stench of death, no sounds of the gun, and no gaunt, hungry faces standing near begging for a morsel of food.  The only sound was the occasional crack of the beautiful American flag flying lazily in the breeze.  There was peace in America.  There was law, and order, and freedom on her soil from sea to shining sea.  Her Constitution was intact, her many colors of people were in unity, her government restored to the pre-nineteen hundreds era, her economy stabilized.

Flag of Freedom

Her military might was again number one in the world, her stance again showing the world that she was the one nation to emulate, the one nation who would be the story pole, the measuring stick of the world.  She was the example of what Freedom was all about.

An old Patriot clambered the last few steps up to the top of the long hill and leaned against the set of tombstones overlooking the peaceful valley while finally getting his wind back from the long climb.  After catching his breath, he turned toward the flag, snapped to attention, and saluted, then leaned on the lone headstone again.  After a few moments, his voice quivering as he spoke.

"Hello Will.  I hope you're enjoying the view and the weather today.  It's so beautiful up here.  I always come up here on every month that has thirty one days.  I will honor that number for as long as I have breath.  And, when I die, I'll have my ashes spread here with yours like some of the others of the Four have."

"Gaylon Hamlin was buried today in the Patriots Cemetery, in the Last Mission Accepted block.  Uncle Joe and dad was buried there a year or so ago.  They died proud men who honored you, and who felt honored to have served with you.  Gaylon was up here a week before he died.  He stood at attention as the flag was raised over you on your day, a national holiday; thirty one, March.  I hope you and he are walking with the rest of the Four together in that great America in the sky."

His voice broke again, and after a moment or two, he continued on.  "Well, I guess it's about time for me to mosey on out of here" he said.  Then he paused for a moment looking out over the valley, then turned and walked toward the crest to get a better view of the valley.  "I just wanted to come up and sit with you for a while.  The doctor delivered the news just this morning giving me a couple of months."

William stood by the tombstone on which the old man had leaned as he talked.  Old Joe, George Gacy, Dale Hamlin, Randal Williams, Leonard Diamond, Juan Orozco, Joe Orozco, Willie Bates, Doc Wilson, Beau Adams, Sung Wu, Randy Weatherford, Curt Stallings, General Sherman Randolph, Gaylon Hamlin and Ginger Rodgers watched Jesse walking the little traveled path which lead back down the hill.  In silence, they watched him stop, spin on his heel, snap to attention and lift an old battered horn to his lips.

The sound of him playing taps was shakey, but cystal clear in the still of the afternoon.  He then saluted the American flag whose colors flowed gently in the breeze of freedom while a tear ran down his face and dripped onto his shirt.

"This is Jesse Orozco, signing off.  Rest in Peace.  Goodbye old friend."

George Cavaness
Dec. 2014

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Chapter XXXIII