They went up on deck together, David carrying his prayer book. The men were assembled wearing their finest clothing. At the starboard rail a canvas length awaited them, sewn by Sails, weighted to carry its burden to the bottom of the ocean. It was on a trestle, covered with the flag of the United States that fluttered at the edges in the light breeze.
The crew was silent as their captain stepped forward, and a hurricane bird soared overhead, far from land but reminding them all that someday, they would return to their homes.
Some of them.
Today is Flag Day in the United States, the day we mark the adoption of our nation's symbol of freedom. It was immortalized during the War of 1812 200 years ago with Francis Scott Key's poem, now our national anthem. My flag is flying, as it does on all national holidays. Long may it wave.