(Replacing torn and tattered American flags for free...)
More than 6 years ago I created Annie Amerika as a way to fulfill my husbands dream, a veterans dream. Although, he never met our granddaughter Maddie, our daughter Sierra made sure that Maddie knew who he was. Maddie was told about Grandpa John, shown pictures of him and heard stories about his life. This weekend Sierra took pictures of Maddie wearing Grandpa John’s riding vest along with his military dog tags. In one photo she is holding his picture and in the other the book I wrote about John and my journey to fulfill his dream and in turn help to heal my heart.
Today I replaced two flags who have outlived their lives. This is the flag of Wayne in Everett WA. It was raining cats and dogs when I knocked on his door but he graciously accepetd the new flag, although it will have to be put up later. Wayne said his parents were in the military and this is why he flies the American flag. Thank you Wayne!
My name is Annie and I have been a good girl this year. I continue my pilgrimage in life by replacing torn and tattered American flags. Also, it has been a joy raising awareness and money for Honor Flight this year. Additionally, I have volunteered at numerous military funeral honors, for our nation's hero veterans as they report to their final duty station. All of these things bring gratitude to my heart.
My health has allowed me to be a good servant to our country and veterans. Thank you for last years gift of putting new people into my life, because we don’t always know the reason they are there but I do know mankind is good.
This year for Christmas I would like to continue with my volunteer work and if possible I would love to travel the countryside once again searching for flags that need replacing. I am proud of my gift of giving and would like to see more compassion in our great country. Please give me the gift to encourage others to go out of their way to help the physical, mental and emotional pains of others and themselves.
Give my love to Rudolph, he is still my favorite. I will leave cookies and milk for you when you come to visit me.
I was unable to share my live video from the Wreaths Across America event, but here it is on Youtube.
REMEMBER our fallen U.S. veterans.
HONOR those who serve.
TEACH your children the value of freedom.
December 16th is WREATHS across AMERICA day. This year I will volunteer to place wreaths on graves at Tahoma National Cemetery in Kent, WA. Over 23,000 veterans graves at this location will receive a wreath, a wreath of honor. As the wreaths are placed, volunteers have been asked to thank each one for their service to our country. "It goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive." "We are not here to "decorate graves." We're here to remember not their deaths, but their lives." Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, the mission is to Remember, Honor, and Teach. This is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at over 1,200 cemeteries in all 50 states, at sea and abroad. The national theme for 2017 is "I'm an American. Yes, I am."
A veteran’s dream, to replace tattered flags across our great country, but we need your help. We want to continue traveling through our country replacing American flags. While we have already given away over 162 American flags we still need your help to continue replacing American flags.
Our mission statement is “Spreading Patriotism one flag at a time” and your support is key to continuing this mission.Would you consider donating to help us continue this mission? Your donation is greatly appreciated and will be used to continue this mission. Annie Amerika is a non-profit (501c3) public charity so your donations are tax deductible.
Please click the yellow donate button (PayPal, Credit, Debit accepted).
You can also go to AmazonSmile and place your regular Amazon order using Annie Amerika as your charity of choice. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases.
Thank you in advance for your support!
Today I attended the Remembrance Ceremony and Lighting of the Flame at the Veterans Memorial Park in Auburn WA. On my drive home I noticed a flag in need of replacement so I pulled in and met Grant (Bonney Lake WA). Grant accepted the new flag but we were unable to put it up because the rope is broken and he can't get to the top of the pole without a hoist. We chatted for a while and then I asked Grant why he flies the American flag, he said he was a Patriot and stands for our country. We chatted for a while around his warm camp/slash fire before I left. Thank you Grant.
Those of us who have not served will never fully understand the sacrifices you've made both in times of peace or war.
We will never fully understand what you were required to do or how you were able to do it.
We will never fully understand the depth of your scars.
But what we can offer you is this: We see you. We recognize your humanity. And we send you love that is gentle, patient and healing.
With BLESSINGS and GRATITUDE, we ask that you remember YOU are loved. Thank You. (written by Syndy Sweeney)
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE!
7 years ago my husband John was killed instantly in a vehicle accident. The grief hasn’t gone away but I have learned some healthy coping strategies. One of those methods is volunteering my time to help others. When I help others my mind focuses on positive things in life. John is the one who inadvertently started Annie Amerika. I am the one who needed to keep John’s love for me and his country alive by following through with his desire to replace tattered American flags. You may have seen one of those flags, the flags who have shown their dedication to our country by flying through the mighty wind and the glaring hot sunshine, one’s definitely loved by everyone who saw her. I’m honored to have loved and been loved by such a patriotic man, and I find it interesting that this Vietnam veteran died just days before Veteran’s Day.This year I celebrate in knowing how lucky I was to have had him in my life for 30 years. “With ALL my HEART I will love you forever !”
Short Story: Honor Flight
Long Story: Some of you may have noticed that I’m a bit of a veterans advocate. :-) Along with replacing tattered American flags I am also a member of the F.O.E (Fraternal Order of Eagles) Auxiliary. Last year I was Washington State Honor Flight Chairman (June 2016-May 2017). I oversaw ALL the Auxiliaries in Washington State in raising funds for our nation's heros. ALL the money raised by the Washington State Auxiliary goes towards two Honor Flight hubs in our state. Last night at the Auburn Eagles Fall Convention we presented a check to Puget Sound Honor Flight for $19,523.88 and a check to INW Honor Flight for $6,183.83 for a total of $25,707.71, what an honor to help our Veterans.
What is Annie up to? Well, 2017 has been the year of change for me. I left a job I loved at Tonasket Choice High School and moved to the west (wet) side of Washington state to be closer to my family. I am close enough to my grandchildren now that I have been able to watch my Portland grandchildren play soccer and I’m looking forward to attending their school functions as well as visiting them at home more than once a year. Imagine a three hour drive instead of a 8 1/2 hour drive, simply wonderful. I have been able to spend every Wednesday with my youngest granddaughter who just turned 2 years old. My four year old granddaughter and I have been able to go to the library for story time and make homemade pizza. I have always been overwhelmed by the love of my family but now I get to be with them and watch them grow. My summer was a busy one with moving and trying to get settled in, which takes longer now that I’m 60. If I’m not with family I’m learning about my area and meeting like minded people. Replacing torn American flags started because of my love for my husband John, then it became MY passion so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to know that family is very important to me. Now that I’m settled into my new environment It’s time to get out and replace flags once again.
POW/MIA Recognition Day is a commemoration set "aside to honor the commitment and sacrifices made by this nation's prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action, as well as their families." (www.legion.org)
Forever in our thoughts and prayers.
(Thank you Whitney for the card, more updates soon)
Two years ago as I traveled across our country looking for tattered flags, when I stopped in at the Siloam Springs, Arkansas VFW. I met a wonderful group of men and women who accepted me as one of their own. They will never be forgotten.
Here they are.
I read a self-help book back in the late 90’s called Who Moved My Cheese, It tells a fable about mice looking for their cheese, but the true story is how to cope with change, positively. We all know change happens in life, some changes are small, like when I don’t wear black socks, true story. On occasion big changes occur, like when John was killed in a car accident, and time as I know it, stood still. Yet, change does happen and sometimes for the good reasons and sometimes for reasons we may question for our entire lives.
This past year I have endured many changes in my life, and recently I have left my job and in the next six weeks I will be moving closer to my children and my grandchildren, boy they sure do grow up fast when you don’t see them regularly. I will not be travelling the backroads of our great country replacing tattered American Flags this summer, but I’m sure I will find a few needing replacement. But for now, I have packing to do and new territory to explore in a new area of Washington State and exploring the relationships I have with my children and grandchildren.
Annie Amerika will live on, and I will always spread John’s patriotism and keep his vision alive, because even if my cheese has moved, I will always have hope and the spirit of a tenacious veteran’s widow.
Oh my goodness, where has the time gone?
I remember having a conversation with my mother about time and how it seems like time goes faster as you get older, it just seems to run away from you. I haven't posted in quite a while but I'm b..a..c..k! I'm really looking forward to warmer weather and looking for flags that need replacing. Happy Spring everyone!
I'm working on travel plans for this summer, stay tuned!
I love replacing tattered flags.
Guess what I did today? Yep, I gave away a flag. It's hard to believe this is the first flag I've given away this year. Let's just say it's been a long 8 months but everything is going to change!
Today I stopped at the home of Don in Okanogan WA. His flag was showing the effects of a long harsh winter. We replaced the flag together and I told him about John. He told me the flag pole was his father's, who served in Korea. He also said that three of his uncles were in Vietnam. As I recited the Pledge of Allegiance Don removed his hat and looked at the ground in silence, a moment of respect.
This new beautiful American flag belongs to Neil and Janie. Janie was a little embarrassed that her flag was tattered but I told her that I had a new one for her. I helped Neil put up the new flag and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Neil said he served four years in the Marines. Thank you Neil for your service to our country.
I just returned from Washington D.C where I accompanied WWII, Korean and Veitnam Veterans. We visited many of the momorieals, here are a few of the photos. Inland Northwest Honor Flight 10/2016
Tomorrow I will embark on my fourth Honor Flight mission. I will accompany veterans to Washingon D.C. to see the memorials that were erected in their honor. Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of the veterans and their families. Inland Northwest Honor Flight will be posting updates and photos over the next few days. Please follow along.
This is Jordan, he is high school Jr. He was flying at a tattered flag in the back of his truck, and although I knew replacing it, it would only get tattered again quickly I just had to give him a new flag because of his patriotism. When I asked Jordan why he flies the American flag he told me " because I like to support my country". Patriotism is alive and well in rural America
I stopped at this home when I noticed it's tattered flag had been removed. No one was home, so I left a new flag by the front door. A couple days later I got an email from a gentleman named Richard. I don't know much about him but I do know he was appreciative. The angle of the pole may tell me that he's a Marine. I llove being an American!
Do you remember when I went on Honor Flight this past spring? I was a guardian volunteer who was assigned to help a Colonel for our two days in Washington D.C. Well, I just got back from Spokane for a quick visit with Bob and his wife. We had some great conversations about our trip, but when I asked him what was his favorite part of the trip he hesitated and said he needed a few minutes. After about 5 minutes he said “mail call”. For those of you who have not gone on Honor Flight I’m not going to ruin it for you, but for the rest of you, you can probably figure out what “mail call” is. Anyway, it was great reminiscing with him about our trip to see the memorials built to honor our veterans.
Im proud to be an American!
Today is #PrimeDay! #StartWithaSmile and @Amazon donates to Annie Amerika. Go to http://smile.amazon.com/gp/
Thank you so very much for your support :-)
I have been asked when I’m leaving this summer to travel the country and replace torn flags like I did last year, and the short answer is I’m not.
There are a few factors when traveling and replacing torn flags and one is finances. I work full time during the school year as a para-pro/teachers aid, a job that I love, but one that does not pay well enough for me to travel annually, and although Annie Amerika is a non-profit organization the current annual donations are less than $3,000, so for these reasons economics are a major factor.
Another reason I’m not traveling great distances across our great country this summer is because I want to spend time with my children and grandchildren this summer while I’m on summer break. They live quite a distance from me so I only get to see them once or twice a year, and boy are they growing up fast.
I will however continue to replace tattered flags during my local travels this summer as I have continued to do all year long in my daily life. As always, I will continue to accept your tax deductible donations for the purpose of purchasing and distributing American flags to replace those that are torn and tattered, not only because it was my husband’s dream, but now my dream too.
My goal is to be on the road traveling across our great country again next summer the summer of 2017 to once again spread patriotism one flag at a time.
Sunday Joe McAllister asked me if he could write a song about Annie Amerika, I told him yes. He read my book "I Pledge Allegiance: A Veteran's Dream" and created this song. I am humbly honored to have some one as talanted as Sunday Joe McAllister write a folk song about me. All rights are reserved.
I want to apologize for not posting in such a long time. To say I have been busy would be an understatement. I work 40 hours a week at Tonasket Choice High School and I am an officer at Tonasket Fraternal Order of Eagles, and I volunteer regularly at my local American Legion helping with military honors at the cemetery and for local events. I am also the Honor Flight Chairman for Washington State Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary. And did you know I’m a grandmother to four brilliant children ages 11, 8, 3, and 9 months. Oh, and let’s not forget Annie Amerika, where my passion lets me replace tattered American flags throughout the year and provide education through public speaking. I can say I’m busy but I can also say that I love my life and appreciate everything and everyone who I have ever met, because without them my passion would have faded long ago. Thank you! www.facebook.com/annieamerika
I am back from a 36 hour trip to Washington D.C. where I accompanied a retired Colonel in the Air Force. We visited the Air Force Memorial, Marine Corp Memorial, Women in the Military Service Museum at Arlington, Korean War Veteran’s Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, National WWII Memorial, Navy Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the changing of the guards.
My husband taught me about patriotism, he believed in our country and unselfishly enlisted in the Navy, serving in Vietnam. During our 30 years together I learned about our military and those who served, and I continue to learn. I developed deep emotional gratitude to all military members and the sacrifices made by them and their families.
Tomorrow morning I embark on my third Honor Flight mission to Washington D.C. flying out of Spokane through Inland Northwest Honor Flight. This Honor Flight mission will include 21 WWII veterans, 55 Korean War veterans and 21 Vietnam veterans.
I would like to publicly thank the community of Tonasket for helping pay my way to accompany our nation’s heroes to the memorials erected for them.
On July 7th 2015 I spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Susanville CA. While there, I met a German woman named Barbara who was traveling around the world without getting on an airplane, we shared quite a few stories with me including having her head shaved in Thailand to save money on shampoo and bathing. She was traveling in a rented van similar to mine. We exchanged contact information at that time and she contacted me the other day. It’s obvious that she wrote it in German and used a translation program, but I though all of you would enjoy her story.
It's great to hear from YOU.
I don't have a blog or a journal. I did write reports but they are all in German.
After having met you in Susanneville I travelled to Ashland, which I liked very much. I followed the coast of Oregon and was impressed by the sanddunes. Via Eugene, where I visited the factory of my folding bicycle, Bike Friday, I headed to Portland and visited a dear friend.
After having spent a few nights in Seattle I left the Westcoast and headed back to follow the Hell Canyon Loop in Eastern Oregon. I visited my first rodeo and had to admit, that it was better than expected. I passed Sault Lake City, drove through The National Arches Park, spent a night in Moab and two nights in Glenwood Springs, Co, where the police woke me up at two o'clock in the morning to let me know, that I couldn't spend the night on the public parking lot. It was supposedly too dangerous. They sent me to a rest area, two miles down the Colorado, where I passed the rest of the night and a second night quietly as well. I bicycled a few miles along the Colorado, met two Amish couples on a tandem and had a nice chat with them. I passed Aspen and stopped for a couple of hours, found it too expensive and unwelcoming, crossed the Independent Pass over to Twin Lakes and on to Salida. There I stayed on a very nice free camping along the river.
After having passed back over the mountains, I visited Mesa Verde National Park and Bryce Canyon and was overwhelmed. The same goes for Goose Neck NP with the three Colorado bends. The night there was great. No noise, no lightpollution.
I left out the Grand Canyon but stayed with a friend in Sedona, AR. Canyon de Chely, Elephant Butt, White Sands and Carlsberg Cavern were some more landmarks, I liked.
I was disappointed by Austin and driving through the deserts was hot, boring and lonely but not as bad as expected. In general, the driving was pleasant and I got to see many lovely areas in all of the States and Canada. I was nevertheless happy to make it to New Orleans, where I visited a very good friend of mine and her two lovely kids. The next places I remember fondly were Athens, GA, Ashville NC, New Berne NC, Kiddiesville, ML and Jim Thorpe. I loved all these cute little towns. Unfortunately New Hope, Pa, was totally crowded with traffic and people. Luckily I knew the place already and wasn't very sorry to just pass through.
Disappointing and crowed as well was Long Island but I had a good time in Peeksill, NY at my friends place and later in Quebec City. I spend a few freezing nights at Lac Saint Jean and along the Saguenay valley in the province of Quebec. Indian summer was in full bloom, I just loved it.
The same goes for New England. I stopped in Stowe, Manchester Center and Brattleboro, all in Vermont. In Brattleboro I visited another lobely friend. I stayed in North Conway NH, Freeport (LLBean), Kennebunkport with more very good friends, Portland, MA, Newbury Port, Ipswich, Concord, Amherst, Shelbourne Falls, MS.
Before dropping my car, I visited Manhattan and enjoyed the Highlane Walk.
The last few days I stayed again with my friends in Peekskill before boarding the ship to Europe
I spend the nights with friends, at many more Walmarts, restareas, public parkings etc. I did not have one unpleasant encounter but met many lovely people.
All in all it was a great trip and I'll have to come back for a few month at least once more.
From N.Y. to Southampton in Great Britain I travelled with the Queen Mary 2, which was quite an experience. Never a dull moment - and never a hungry one. There was free food during twentytwo hours a day. From Southampton, I took a coach to London and from there the train to Cologne in Germany, where I met my brother, with whom I spent three nights in that city before gettin home November 8.
Now I am back home and still waiting for a good winter with lots of snow. First it was unusually warm and sunny. Now it has been raining for quite a while, even in the Alps.
Take care, keep in touch
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about you,
There is not a day that I don’t smile as I think about our time together.
Five years is a long time,
Yet it seems like yesterday.
The reality is that I will grieve forever,
But I am learning to live without you, as hard as that is.
You influenced and nurtured my life for over 30 years,
You were my rock, my confident and my mentor.
Five years and the pain is still there,
And I still miss talking to you, laughing with you,
crying with you and loving with you.
With all my HEART, I will love you forever…
Today is a beautiful day in Okanogan County, the air is crisp and the sun is shining, it must be fall time. Today I gave away a flag to Brenda of Tonasket WA, she told me her husband passed away less than a month ago and my heart ached for her pain. She said that although Bill was not a veteran he took “pride in being an American”, every morning he would put up the flag and in the evening he would take it down. Brenda also told me that he was “proud to be an American citizen” and would attend Veteran’s Day ceremonies at the cemetery. Brenda said the Pledge of Allegiance with me as did her friend who was visiting her, I gave Brenda a hug and said good bye. It’s a great day in Okanogan County and I am proud to be an American, I love this country!
I reconnected this summer with my childhood baby sitter Pamabla, well that’s what we called her and she read my book “I Pledge Allegiance: A Veteran’s Dream”. I received an email from her this morning and I wanted to share part of the message with you. “I am SO IMPRESSED with your book and ALL you have accomplished Hon! You AMAZE me! I am reading pages and RE reading pages cuz I just LOVE reading all the support you are getting and how much people are rooting for you and your cause! I want to tell you tho....that prayer your daughter wrote for you had me bawling my eyes out! (Page 33) OMG!!! I truly see a movie in the making of your adventure Hon! And I'll sit through it at the movie theaters as many times as I sat through The Sound of Music...which was 22 times! Oh and now you have ME looking at homes flying flags to see if they are tattered and torn and so far all I've seen are good ones!” http://www.amazon.com/Pledge-Allegiance-Veterans-Dream/dp/1480023264
Yesterday I received a message from Becky saying, “I know someone who needs a new flag at one point.” And she posted this photo taken by Carla Enholm. Carla had the caption “The flag still hanging strong....just the most tragic photoL. So I sent Carla a FB message telling her I wanted to replace this flag. She sent me her father’s information and I called him last night. I just had a wonderful conversation on the phone with Roger, the owner of this flag and flagpole. There was some concern about putting up a new flag right away without a light on it so I will be mailing Roger a new Flag tomorrow and he will put it up when the time is right. Roger told me that he did two tours in Vietnam and spent two years in Germany, he was in the Army for a total of 6 years. His two older brothers were in the Army also and is younger brother in the Navy. I want to think Roger and his brothers, thank you, from the bottom of my heart...
How do you sum up a patriotic Americana road trip, a pilgrimage to heal to spread patriotism and to keep John’s loyalty to his country alive. This one man who was called a “baby killer” when he arrived back in the United States from Vietnam started this journey by showing me what patriotism is all about, how to love my country, its veterans and our American flag. I set out to share my patriotism on my favorite holiday, Independence Day, the 4th of July. Physically I traveled alone in my van but emotionally and spiritually my van was full of love, memories and determination, I never felt alone. Most of the people I met shared their deepest emotional stories with me, stories of patriotism, war and love, and in turn sharing with you, because of this they have impacted my life with emotional love for eternity. Even those I met at campgrounds, rest stops, Walmart parking lots, and even the Speedy Lube, AAMCO transmission shop and Fifield Auto Werks, have impacted me into becoming a more humble virtuous person, to always “pay it forward”, to live my life to the fullest every day and to never forget how truly blessed I am. Finding torn or tattered American flags is fairly easy, finding people at home to accept the new flag is a bit harder, and sharing my story at every door, the story of John a Vietnam veteran is an emotional process that can be difficult but the relationships I make and the faces I see in the flags are extremely fulfilling. Sometimes I feel that giving away American flags is selfish, self-seeking because I get more out of giving the flags away than most people will ever know or understand, and for this I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will always look for torn or tattered American flags so I can continue to fulfill a veteran’s dream, a dream of replacing old flags with new American made flags, long may she wave.
Some of you may remember a post I made on 7/14/15 about Whitney the Postmaster in Caliente NV. When we met our personalities clicked like we were cousins. Well, today in the mail I received a beautiful card that says “You live a life of meaning, doing what is needed with care & sacrifice.” “That makes you a very special person”. And she wrote “I will never forget you or your story.” Not only did she send me this great card but she donated two large 5’x10’ American flags. Thank you Whitney and the wonderful people of Caliente NV!
As always I will continue to replace torn and tattered flags throughout the year, and always for free...
Flags for America 2015 statistics:
Average 1.21 flags per day
Average one flag every 159.02 miles
Flags for America 2012 statistics:
Average 1.07 flags per day
Average one flag every 155.56 miles
Monday August 10, 2015 my 38 day on the road and my last night for this cross countries “Flags for America 2015”. You see, yesterday I receive word that my son and daughter-in-law were about to become parents, so I drove and drove and drove to get back into Washington State where they live. While I was still in western Montana I called my friend Teresa and told her I would be close to her house come evening and wanted to spend the evening visiting her and her husband. Teresa was the maid of honor at our wedding on 6/2/1984 and we have remained great friends throughout the years. I arrived at their home and spent the evening telling them about my trip and the impending birth of my grandchild. We noticed her American flag looked great but her POW MIA flag was in need of replacement, so this morning I replaced her POW MIA flag, I left Tonasket on July 4 with two of them. I followed my usual routine and we recited the Pledge of Allegiance together, then I asked her why she flies the American flag. Teresa told me she had her husband Bill put up the flag pole in 2012 to honor my new mission in life as Annie Amerika, and she put up the flag because of the loss of my husband, her good friend John. She also reminded me that her grandson is in the military and is a US Naval Aviation Rescues Swimmer. Also, her husband Bill is a veteran as was her father, step-father, two brothers and one sister. I can’t think of a better way to end this summers “Flags for America” than by giving my dearest friend a new POW MIA flag. When I asked her specifically why she flies the POW MIA flag she said it is because she “owed it to the veterans of the Vietnam war”. She is also an active member in the Patriot Guard Riders and she feels she owes it to those guys. Thank you Teresa for being a patriot and thank you Bill for your service. My granddaughter was born this morning and everyone is doing great. It was a long day but I made it to Bellingham to hold and visit with my granddaughter.
I have noticed recently that some flags are still flying at half-staff after President Obama proclaimed to fly flags at half-staff on July 21, this proclamation ended July 25th. I personally receive notifications through a website called www.aflag.com. On the right side of their page you can put in your email address and you will receive notifications. Also if you have a flag pole (stick) on the front of your home you would tie a black ribbon on the tip to show the flag at half-staff.
I traveled on Highway 2 through Montana today and stopped in many towns, 5 or 6 of those towns had no flags flying except the one at the Post Office. I thought about it and realized that in the Midwest states, I found many flags throughout the communities, some needed replacement and some that were in great condition. So why here in Montana are their no flags? Now I did find one tattered flag today in Chinook MT but no one answered the door. As you can see by the photo the flag was in dire need of replacement so I left a new flag at their front door. I hope they see this post and tell us a little about themselves. I’m traveling and getting closer to home every day now and have a bit of happiness in my smile and sadness in my heart knowing that this “Flags for America 2015” is soon coming to an end. This does not mean that I stop looking for tattered flags, it just means the road trip part is almost over. \
I’d like to answer a few questions I have received.
I work for Tonasket WA School District at the Tonasket Choice High School.
I traveled across the country once before in 2012 (I wrote a book that is available on Amazon.com titles “I Pledge Allegiance: A Veteran’s Dream”.
This is my second time across the country, although I will travel less miles this time than I did in 2012.
I give away flags in residential areas who are flying torn or tattered American flags throughout the year also, no commercial businesses. Only residences and non-profits.
Annie Amerika is a non-profit public charity who relies on donations to purchase the flags.
I personally (Gale Wilkison) pay for the advertisement, gas, food and overnight accommodations (Walmart most of the time) out of my pocket.
The flags are always free to the home with the tattered flag.
I am overwhelmed by the positive, energetic, caring people I meet across this great nation, I am truly blessed. I left Glasgow MT this morning and headed west where I stopped at a rest stop. Here I met two couples riding their (Spider) Motorcycles, one couple was from Canada and one from Arkansas. They admired my van so I told them my story. They took photos of me and my van and within a few minutes I was handed a $100 bill to help my cause. I hugged all four of them, and I was proud that I held back my tears until after they left. We met as strangers and departed as friends. This is not the first time complete strangers have done something nice or helpful for me. Just last night a kind couple overheard my story and gave me $20 to help out. Lucky? Blessed? Fortunate? Yes!
Wow, what a long day across North Dakota on highway 2. I logged over 600 miles, and for me that’s a long day, keep in mind I spend one to two hours in each town looking for tattered flags. Also
today I spent time driving through a reservation, which I haven’t seem an American flag needing replacement on one yet on a reservation.
But, today my one and only flag went to Roger from Rugby ND, yep the center of North America. Roger had just told his wife last night that they needed a new flag and low and behold I show up today with a new one, kind of freaky if you ask me. I told Roger about John and he said he was a Vietnam veteran also. I put up the new flag and he recited the Pledge of Allegiance with me. When I asked Roget why he flies the American flag he said because he was “Proud of it”. He also shared with me that he was in the Air Force for 14 years and he retired from full time work at the National Guard. Thank you Roger for accepting the 42 flag I gave out in the last 35 days, and thank you for your service.
My fifth flag of the day went to vibrant women named Michelle of Crookston MN. Michelle was extremely embarrassed because her flag was tattered. She said she was very patriotic and thankful for our veterans. After I told her may story she looked up and said “sorry John”, she was so cute. He also said she flies the American flag because we are living in the United States and when people burn flags or fly Confederate flags it “pisses her off”, she said those who burn the flag or fly the confederate flag should go live in another country and she how that works for them. She also talked about the rights we have here in the United States. She gave me a hug before I left, thanks Michelle!
My third flag today went to Mary of Crookston MN. Mary recited the Pledge of Allegiance with me and told me that her father had put in the flagpole years earlier, he was in WWII serving in the Army. Thank you Mary! My fourth flag went to a home flying a tattered American flag, no one was at home but I felt the need to leave them a new American flag.
My second flag went to Pat of Erhard MN. Her husband served in the Air Force in Korea, he passed on over 20 years ago. When I asked her why she flies the American flag she said “We do live in the U.S, American” and it shows our freedom. Now, I want you all to know that giving away flags and retelling my story each time can be extremely emotional for me and the homeowners who tell their stories sometimes chock up telling theirs. Thank you Pat for accepting on of my flags and thank you for taking the time to talk to me.
My first flag went to Melinda of Fergus Falls MN. Her husband Arnold died three years ago, he was in WWII serving in the Army (361 Infantry). When I asked her why she flies the American flag she said her “husband insisted on it, when they moved from the farm he dug up the flag pole” and brought it to town. Thank you Melinda for keeping your husband love for our great country alive, thank you.
August 6, 2015, 34 days on the road: I woke up this morning in Fergus Falls MN after socializing at the Fergus Falls Eagles Club, these men and women were genuine and heartwarming to say the least. I headed to the Viking Café for what I heard was the best breakfast ever. My waitress was Jane and the other waitress was Nance (whose husband is also a Vietnam veteran). We chatted like we were old friends. And who puts whipped butter on their homemade hash browns? Delicious! The girls even came outside to see my van and the two of them paid for my breakfast. Fergus Falls my friends is a uniquely friendly town. I knew today was going to be a great day to be Annie Amerika. Now, do you want to hear about the 5 flags I gave away today? I beat my old record of four in one day by giving away five today, four of them will get separate posts.
I would like to publicly thank Neal Zirbel of Fifield Auto Werks for fixing my van by replacing then throttle positioning sensor. Immediatly I got 5mpg more. I am thrilled beyond to know that I can once again stop and give away American flags. If your ever in Wisconsin please send your business to Neal! He was honest and thorough and accurate. Thank you Neal!
August 4, 2015 32 days on the road:
Today I gave a new American flag to Dustin. Dustin told me a few reasons why he flies the American flag. He "was in the Cub Scouts from the time he can remember and they raised and lowered the flag". He flies the American flag for God and our country. His brother is in the Air Force. And it is his "God given right!" Thank you Dustin of Fifield for acdeptint an Annie America flag.
Melissa received her new flag today from Annie Amerika "and are just so happy to see our house once again flying teh colors of our Nation! We fly the Flag because we are proud of our Country and our Hertage but mostly to thank those that have died for this Flag. I am the proud daughter of a Vietnam Bet and my flags always make me feel that my Dad is still with us in some way. Hutch's uncle was a Marine KIA in Vietnam, not to mention our Grandfathers who both served proudly, one of which was MIA and later declared KIA ove the Pacific during WW2. Thank you Annie and God Bless America
August 3, 2015: My second flag today went to Rosie of Hancock WI. She wasn't sure if I could get the old flag down, (That's because she doesn't know how tenacious I am) of course I got it down but I was glad I had my step stool with me. Rosie told me her husband was in the military and the reason they fly the flag is because they are "proud of the U.S.". Patriotism is alive in rural America!
August 3, 2015 Day 31:
In the sweet town of Coloma WI I found a tattered flat at the home of Chipper and Karen and their two children. Chipper said he had been meaning to get a new one, I'm glad he didn't because I was honored to have him accept one of mine. After all five of us said the Pledge of Allegiance I asked why they fly the American flag, and without hesitation Karen said we are "proud of America". Chipper said it is out of "respect for those who fight for our country" and he added that his father was in the Korean War. It was truly my pleasure to meet Karen and Chipper today. Thank you for being proud of our country.
Saturday August 1st, 2015: What a beautiful day to be in Kansasville Wisconsin where I met a vibrant woman by the name of Kathy. I replaced Kathy's flag and she recited the Pledge of Allegiance with me. She talked about her son who has been the Air Force for 12 years and when she told me about him her voice changed into the sweet caring compassionate mother with pride in her voice. Kathy said she flies American flag because of all the wonderful men and women who defend our country, I totally agree Cathy. I forgot to ask her son's name but I wish him the best for his career in the Air Force and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.
My second flag today went to Jim and his lovely wife of 43 years Valerie, also of Volo, Illinois. Jim told me he was in the Air Force for four years enlisting right after High School. He felt that the military should be required, and it was a great “growing up” period for him. He also told me that the men he served with always had each other’s back, even though they were essentially strangers. He served at Clark Air Force base in the Philippines which has now been destroyed by a volcano. Before I left Valerie and Jim gave me a warm hug, thank you Jim for your service.
July 31, 2015 Day 28: My first flag today went to Paul of Volo, Illinois. Paul was in the Army during the Korean War. Paul had this great warm smile that generated sheer joy. When I asked him why he flies the American flag he told me he has flown the flag since being discharged from the Army. He said he considers himself very patriotic. Thank you Paul for your service to our great country and for putting joy in my heart today
Today I found a tattered flag in the town of Vandalia Illinois. I stopped and approached a man cutting the grass and asked to replace his tattered flag, he said yes and as I was putting up the new flag he said he was just cutting the grass for the homeowner Jerry. Hmm… (SUPRISE!) I told him that I would leave the tattered flag behind just in case it had some special meaning to Jerry. I said the Pledge and took a photo of the new flag and Eric the man cutting grass said “I sh...ould sell it to Jerry” I told him don’t you dare, flags from me are free! I believe Jerry may be a firefighter or has the flag erected in honor of firefighters because he had a plaque under the flag with the Fireman’s Prayer on it. (I also found a tattered flag in Ramsey Illinois but no one came to the door and I really wanted to give one away in Ramsey because my two oldest grandchildren, Alex and Tessa-Lynn have a cat named Ramsey.
Today I traveled over 300 miles and to the average person that might not sound too bad, 6 hours right? Not for me, today I have been on the road for 12 hours and I’m starting to feel every bit of my 58 years. I left the Carbondale area this morning where I spend the night with my cousin’s daughter’s family. I only met this girl once when she was only 2 years old, but through Facebook we became kindred spirits. Today I traveled up Illinois 51 through the tallest corn fields I have ever seen, they were so tall I couldn’t see over them even in my tall van. And on a side note my van has been giving me some trouble the last two days but after having an oil change it seems to be better, fingers crossed. A shout out to Speed Lube in Decatur, manager Adam Perry and his crew were friendly, efficient and helpful. Thanks boys smile emoticon
July 27, 2015 Day 24 on the road:
While traveling up and down the streets of Murphysboro Illinois I noticed an American flag in good condition, yes I said good. I turned down that street because when one flag is flying usually another neighbor is flying a flag also. It seems to be a sort of a competition between people who put up their American flag every morning and take it down every night. It reminded me about a video I saw once, that depicted exactly what I’m talking about here and it “says” exactly how I feel about our American flag. Please take the time to watch it in its entirety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyZ9b4My6NU
July 26, 2015, my second flag went to a retired Information Systems Technical First Class (Surface Warfare) man by the name of John who was in the United States Navy. John served from 1984-2004. John showed me his shadow box which included a flag flown over Camp David in 2003 while the President was at Camp David. John has 17 medals and ribbons. His bio includes working at NAVCOMTELSTA in Iceland and a very impressive 5 years at Site-R, Raven Rock Mountain Complex, a deep und...erground relocation and communication facility for the Pentagon. He provided me with this about Site-R: “Through these portals walk dedicated men and women who proudly defend the rock. This exceptional military and civilian team continues the tradition begun in 1953 when the facility was dedicated”. He recited the Pledge with me and proudly stood with his new flag for this photo. Before I left he said welcome to Salem Missouri. I never asked him why he flies the American flag, but for this one I didn’t think I needed to. From the bottom of my patriotic heart, thank you John, thank you.
July 26, 2015 Day 23 on road: My first flag today went to a refined mature woman who allowed me to replace her tattered flag. But I sensed that she was afraid, and leery of my intentions. I never asked her name and didn’t take a photo of the flag until after I drove away because I was concerned about her apprehension. The hooks on her rope could have been adjusted better, and normally I take a few extra minutes to fix them but I didn’t spend more time there then needed for her sake. After I put up the new flag and said the Pledge of Allegiance I went back to the front door and asked if she wanted the tattered flag back and she said no, then she said “I hope this isn’t a joke” I assured her it wasn’t. She told me her nephew Len was in the military and he said “we should” fly the flag. I hope her nephew finds this post and knows that I am not out to hurt anyone, only to spread patriotism one flag at a time in honor of my husband John. Thank you to the cautious woman in Licking Missouri.
July 26, 2015, my second flag went to a retired Information Systems Technical First Class (Surface Warfare) man by the name of John who was in the United States Navy. John served from 1984-2004. John showed me his shadow box which included a flag flown over Camp David in 2003 while the President was at Camp David. John has 17 medals and ribbons. His bio includes working at NAVCOMTELSTA in Iceland and a very impressive 5 years at Site-R, Raven Rock Mountain Complex, a deep underground relocation and communication facility for the Pentagon. He provided me with this about Site-R: “Through these portals walk dedicated men and women who proudly defend the rock. This exceptional military and civilian team continues the tradition begun in 1953 when the facility was dedicated”. He recited the Pledge with me and proudly stood with his new flag for this photo. Before I left he said welcome to Salem Missouri. I never asked him why he flies the American flag, but for this one I didn’t think I needed to. From the bottom of my patriotic heart, thank you John, thank you.
(I am so sorry I can't seem to upload the photos, please go to www.facebook.com/annieamerika
Yesterday I left that beautiful Roaring Rivers State Park and headed northwest. I traveled through the adorable towns of Cassville, Jenkins, Aurora and Marionville all in Missouri. Now I have to tell you that when I drive up and down the streets in small towns looking for torn and tattered flags people stare at me, usually with a look that is uncomfortable, and I understand that because a stranger is driving up and down the streets in your community. But in the town of Aurora and Marionville people were coming out and waving at me with huge smiles on their faces, they stopped cutting the grass and waved. I felt like I worked for Publishers Clearing House, ready to give away the 1 Million dollar super-prize. I did find tattered flags but no one was at home.
As evening arose I looked for a place to park for the night so I headed to the nearest Fraternal Order of Eagles, and it turned out to be my lucky evening. Piney River #3911 in Houston Missouri was hosting a benefit for State Worthy President Randy Riggs and State Madame President Cathy Napier-Powell. Not only did I get a chance to talk to both of them I also talked to local Aerie President Robert (Bob) Tremble and Auxiliary President Nikki Hutton. The steak dinner was excellent and so was their hospitality.
Yesterday July 24, 2015 Day 21: I left Siloam Springs AR in the morning and headed northeast. I came upon Pea Ridge National Military Park in Garfield AR, I stopped and toured the museum and drove the trail around this historic site. U.S. National Park Service says “Pea Ridge was one of the most pivotal Civil War battles and is the most intact Civil War battlefield in the United States.” As I made stops through the park to read the historical site information plaques an eerie quietness hung over the area, you could sense the death and destruction that took place during the two days in March 1862 where 26,000 soldiers fought.
Early yesterday afternoon I came upon Roaring Rivers State Park its beauty caught my eye right away with a winding creek going through the campground. It was early but I pulled in and got a campsite. I took my chair down to the river and sat in about 2’ of water under the shade trees as children floated nearby and fly fishermen caught trout downstream. While I was there I met Betsy and Noel, they were camping with their fisherman husbands and we hit it off immediately and of course we talked for hours. They invited me to their campsite for a fresh trough dinner, thank you Betsy and Noel.
One of my FB followers, Sandra Easley sent me a private message yesterday saying that I should meet with two very patriotic men. One was JD in Westville OK and the other was Frank from Siloam AR. Within minutes JD had contacted me through FB saying I was very close to his town and wanted to see if I would meet him tomorrow (today) because he had something to show me. I met him and his daughter, we drove a short distance to The Dairy Bar where his wife, Amanda met with us and we ...had lunch. Westville OK is a community of about 1,500 people where JD is heavily involved in the Patriot Guard and VFW. JD was in the Navy serving in Vietnam. While at The Dairy Bar I met owners Cheri and her mother Bobbie. They have what they call Miracle Monday, all tips on Monday’s for an entire month, every month go to a local charity or to help a local family in need. They also have a separate room in the restaurant dedicated to veterans, most of the local. Cheri told me the story of a Veteran traveling near the area when he was mugged. They went and got him and collected enough money so he could have a bus ticket home, Cheri cried as she retold the story. By the time we were done with lunch I learned about all the wonderful things JD and his wife have done for their community. BTW, JD had a stroke on the 4th of July this year, yet he is energetic and dedicated to our veterans. Before I left I gave him a small gift of my appreciation and he gave me the phone number for Frank in Siloam OK. Thank you for lunch JD and Amanda, thank you for what you do for our veterans!
After I left Westville I headed to Siloam AR and called Frank to see if he knew of any tattered flags. He asked if I could meet him at VFW Post #1674, I said yes. When I arrived he had about 10 people there to meet me. I was impressed that he could get that many people together in 15 minutes. I talked with the VFW members and their families about John, my patriotism and traveling our great country. I wish I could remember everyone’s name but want to specifically thank Frank a...nd Belva and Harold. Their hospitality was gracious and before I left Harold and Commander Frank knew of a missing flag, I could follow Harold over to the house. But before I left I gave Frank and the VFW Post an autographed copy of my book and they gifted me with a very generous donation (I will get their name on a shining star). I followed Harold to the house needing a flag, but when I knocked on the door no one was home. I left a new American flag on their front door step along with my card. I hope they get a chance to log on to find me.
July 22, 2015 Day 19: Patriotism is alive and well in Northeastern Oklahoma! Do you want to hear about the flag I gave away today? Or maybe you want to hear about the two flags I gave away, how about the three flags I gave away today. OK, I’ll tell you about the four, yes four flags I gave away today, I feel blessed beyond belief. In the town of Chouteau, Oklahoma I found a home with a tattered flag, I knocked on the door but no one answered, I left my card and started to leave but went back and left the flag. I could imagine the look on this person’s face when they find a free, full size stitched American flag on their front door step. I hope they take the time to look me up and see this post. It sure puts a huge smile on my face.
Also in Chouteau, I put up a new flag at the home of a Purple Heart recipient by the name of Mike. Mike wasn’t at home but I talked to his friend Ann. She told me that Mike was in the Army and he is also a veteran’s advocate. Mike flies an Army flag under his American flag that says “Served with Pride”, Mike is a proud American. Ann asked to keep the flag I took down in case it was important to Mike. What a sweet woman.
My third flag today went to Jack of Pryor, Oklahoma. Jack was in the Army for two years and the Navy for four years, while in the Navy he was aboard an aircraft carrier. Jack served during the Vietnam Conflict. Jack told me he “is proud of his country”. I shook Jack’s hand and told him welcome home.
The fourth flag today went to Mike and Rachael of Spavinaw, Oklahoma. Mike was not at home but his wife Rachael told me he served in Iraq and Afghanistan, OEF & OIF (Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom). I don’t want to go into the details she told me but I’m sure Mike could use all the positive energy and prayers that everyone has to offer, he sounds like a great man. Rachael said her “husband fought for our great country”, and she had relatives that served our country that go back to the Civil War. Thank you Rachael for being strong for Mike and our country, it’s apparent that she loves Mike dearly, and the hug from her was genuine.
On a side note the Cicada’s are so loud in these parts of the country that at one point I had to stop because I thought my van was running rough. LOL. I also stopped in at the American Legion in Spavinaw, Oklahoma (home to Mickey Mantle, yes Mickey Mantle was born here) At the Powell-Dodd-Johnson Post 192. I met Teresa the bartender and woman extraordinaire and Eddie the finance officer. These two made me feel like a long lost cousin, hearts of gold they both have. We talked for a bit and they gifted me with a plate for Tonasket American Legion and a Ladies Auxiliary cook book. People in small towns are so nice, thanks Spavinaw!
July 20, 2015 Day 17: Today I found a tattered flag in Alva Oklahoma. I first met Renetta and she quickly checked with her husband to see if I could replace their worn flag. Then I proceeded to put up the new flag and while I was finishing up saying the Pledge of Allegiance a truck pulled up and Renetta started talking to (wish I could remember his name, sorry) anyway he writes for the newspaper. He approached me and asked some questions, one of which was my opinion about the Confederate flag, I told him that it was an important part of our history. I asked Renetta why they fly the American flag and she said her husband Gerald was retired from the National Guard, I believe this is the first flag I have given to someone retired from the National Guard. I asked her if there was any other reason, maybe from Gerald. She went into the house and he came out and he said because he is “proud of it”. He also told me his is tired of people (my words now) who desecrate it. Except he was more blunt, it was obvious he was not happy with the way some people treat our American flag. Thank you Renetta and Gerald, and Gerald thank you for your service to our great nation.
Yesterday I had the oppertunity to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park in Angel Fire NEw Mexico. www.vietnamveteransmemorial.org I'm not sure where to begin except it is by far the BEST Veitnam Memorial I have ever been to. I cried through the entire compound. Their website is actually very good and my photos won't do justice. Please check them out.
Being an educator this is probably one of my favorite stops. I saw the tattered flag and pulled up. Three little girls who were playing outside said hi, then ran to their front door. The eldest asked what I wanted. I told her I wanted to give a new flag to replace the tattered one, I asked if mom or dad were at home and she said Grandma is. All three ran inside and got Grandma, I told Loretta my story and she said her husband was a Vietnam Veteran also. She told me how he was spit upon when he got home and how is it much better for those coming home now. I put up the new American flag, I asked the girls if they say the Pledge of Allegiance at school and they said yes, so Loretta and the two oldest said the Pledge of Allegiance with me. I gave all three girls a handheld flag of their own, with my basic rules: No sword fights and it if touches the ground pick it up right away, they agreed. Loretta said her husband will be excited when he gets home. Loretta said they fly the American flag because they are “proud of their country and the men AND women who fought for us.” What a great day to be in Clayton New Mexico.
July 19, 2015 Day 16: Again I was trying to figure out a way to tell you all that I didn’t give away any flags, that was until I got to Clayton New Mexico!
I knocked on the door of Bob and asked him if I could replace his tattered flag. He was a bit puzzled but said yes. He stayed inside while I put up the new flag and said the Pledge of Allegiance. I went back to the front door and asked him why he flies the American flag and he said “I just always have”. Thanks Bob, Clayton New Mexico.
On April 4, 2015 I posted in part: “… patriotic pilgrimage through the back roads of our great nation. Please follow along… on a nostalgic sojourn as I travel through National Parks on this iconic, all American road trip. This old fashioned allegiance to my country, to our veterans and to John is a journey to give away 100 new American flags to those flying torn or tattered flags, I will forever keep John’s patriotism alive through his dream of giving away flags because of his dedication and love to our country.” As of today July 16, 2015 with 13 day on the road I have traveled 2,434 miles through 5 states. I have given away 16 American flags and 1 POW/MIA flag. I have driven through 5 National Parks which include Crater Lake National Park, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Yosemite National Park, Zion National Park, and Bryce National Park. I am proud to be an American!
Some days I feel defeated. When I get into a town or city I drive anywhere from 2-3 hours up and down streets looking for a tattered flag to replace. Many people are just not home, so I leave my card hoping they will contact me. I do this because I am passionate about helping those who can't afford a new flag or those who just didn't realize it was tattered. I am passionate about continuing John's patriotism, a veterans dream, which has now become MY dream. I will never stop ...educating children about the American flag, nor will I stop giving away for free, yes free a new American flag to those flying tattered flags. Today I found a tattered flag, and the homeowner was at home. I hardly got a chance to tell him why I wanted to replace his Flag for free, and he said nothing is free, and walked away. I'm saddened to know that we are a society who believe nothing is for free...
Yesterday morning before I left Caliente NV I stopped at the Post Office where I met the Postmaster Whitney Barnes. Talking to Whitney was like talking to a cousin I hadn’t seen in years, I think we were meant to be soul sisters. She told me about a flag that was tattered a few miles out of town near where she lived. I told her I would replace it on my way out of town. I found the tattered flag but it was riveted on to the pole and the pole was riveted onto the bracket. I tried to look at it like a man but couldn’t figure out how to replace it. As I got back in my van I saw a woman walking down the road with a little girl and a dog. I asked her if she knew Whitney and she said yes. I told her the story and Elsa said she would make sure Whitney got the flag. Last night I got a message from Patty and Paul that read, “Thank you for the flag we will make sure the flag gets put up…” Patty also said “We are Patriots. Paul served in Vietnam Veteran War. Paul is a decorated Veteran. We are very sorry about the lost of your husband.” Patty also said they would put the flag up this weekend and send me a photo. Thank you Whitney, Elsa, Patty and Paul. Welcome home Paul!
My second flag today went to Denny of Caliente NV, an adorable little town. It seemed like an odd sized flag to me then Denny told me that the flag belonged to his father in law Bob Lee Lasseter. Bob passed away years ago and had been a Marine during the Vietnam Conflict, this flag was draped over his casket after he died. Denny told me Bob was a good friend of his, and Denny’s eyes started to tear up. I asked him if he wanted to keep the flag or repair it and he said no. I asked if his wife may want to keep it and he said she passed away. I generously accepted the casket size cotton flag for proper retirement. Denny said the Pledge of Allegiance with me, and told me he put the flag up a few weeks before the 4th of July in honor of Bob Lee. Why does he fly the American flag? Because he’s “American” that why.
July 12, 2015 Day 9: This morning I got up in Tonopah NV and couldn’t find any tattered flags. I went to the VFW and called the number on the door for Cindy the Auxiliary President. She knew of no tattered flags in the area, so I continued to look around. I found the home of Jeremy, he accepted the new flag. I asked him why he flies the American flag and he said “it was in the back room” his father used to fly it. The home now is owned by Jeremy. Thanks Jeremy for putting it up.
July 10, 2015 Day 7:
In the back roads of Bridgeport CA I found a few tattered flags but the people were not at home, until I came to the home of Bill and his son Ian, Ian was about 12 years old. Bill was flying a tattered American flag and under it a tattered yellow “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. As we took down the flags and I put on the new American flag Ian asked if I had one of those “yellow ones” to replace it, I told him no but I did carry a POW/MIA flag. Bill and Ian agreed that it would be good decision since they fly the American flag for Bill’s grandpa who was in the Army Corp of Engineers, Bill also said they flew the American flag because “it was something (the right thing) you do”. Thank you Bill and Ian for accepting two new flags.
Very close to Bill and Ian’s house was a familiar flag pole I gave a new flag to three years ago. And although the flag flying was in good condition I stopped by to talk to them. Pam was there with her son Tim, she remembered me and said that the flag that was up wasn’t my flag because it got tattered but they kept getting new ones when they became tattered. Tim told me the story of the pole/tree they got from the bottom of “dunerbird” hill. They cut the tree and hit hung 10’ over the front and 10’ over the back of their red truck they had. It is a grand flag pole. I was great talking to Pam again.
July 10, 2015 Day 7:
I stepped outside my box today, which is not the same thing as being out of the closet. I function well when I know what is expected of me and what I should do. I told someone once that I was a rebel because I ripped the tag (actually I cut it) off my pillow. So today I stopped at the Senior Center in Walker CA and asked if they knew of any torn or tattered flags. One gentleman told me about a memorial out on the highway that needed a new flag. I told him that I only replace American flags for residential areas. Then I asked him for more information and at this point everyone in the building was listening. He said that a few years ago they had a wildfire come through and a helicopter carrying water crashed trying to help their community. I asked who maintains the memorial and he said we all do. I headed to this memorial and put up a flag in honor of the C-130 Crew who gave their lives to save the community of Walker Ca on June 17, 2002. Outside my box because I don’t give flags to memorials, or at least I hadn’t until now.
July 7, 2015 Day 4: Flag #2
My second flag was given to Denise in Vinton CA. Denise and her husband Steve had a grand flag pole in the back yard, but no flag. Normally I don’t just give flags away, I look for torn or tattered flags to replace. But you see… this is the home that John and I owned up until 2008. I ask Denise if I could put up a new flag, she said yes. We chatted a bit, she told me her son recently retired from the Navy and he most recently was in Afghanistan. Thank you Denis for accepting one of my flags.
July 7, 2015 Day 4: Flag #1
This morning I stopped in Doyle CA and found this tattered flag. I didn’t have to knock on the door because I was greeted with two barking dogs. Karen came out and I asked to replace her flag. She stated that the storm last night really took its toll on the flag. We tried to replace the flag but the rope was broken near the top, and we couldn’t find a ladder. She told me that her husband would put it up tonight when he came home. I hope she posts photos and they tell me why they fly the American flag.
July 6, 2015: I was driving around Burney CA and found a tattered flag. I knocked on the door and Ann answered and gave me permission to put up a new flag, she went for the ladder so I could climb up to reach it. When she came back she said can she keep the old flag, I said yes, it must have special meaning for you. And she cried… I told her my husband John died 4 ½ years ago, he was in Vietnam. And we both cried…She said her husband Joe put the flag up there and he died 15 months ago. I put the new flag up and she recited the Pledge of Allegiance with me through heavy tears. She told me Joe was in the Army and had been in Vietnam before they sprayed Agent Orange, meaning they sprayed while he was there, he suffered the effects of Agent Orange. He had been suffering the past 10 years and died from Pancreatic Cancer. We both cried, and hugged each other. I left with red swollen eyes, she has a special place in my heart. Here is Ann with her new flag, thank you Ann...
Day two, July 5th:
Day One: 4th of July...
My first flag today was given to Darrel, when I asked him why he flies the American Flag he said his wife is from Fiji and she insists they fly the flag. After I put up the new flag I asked him what his wife’s name is, he said Ester; she stuck her head out the window and with a thick accent yelled “God Bless America”. Thank you Darrel and Ester!
The second flag I gave away today was to Michael and Marcia. It was obvious that Michael was proud of his second amendment. After I put up the new flag Michael said the Pledge of Allegiance with me. I asked him why he flies the flag and he said “for my brothers” He told me he did two tours in Vietnam, we chatted a while and when I was ready to leave I put out my hand to shake his, and he said give me a hug, we hugged and he said John would be proud of you!
Independence Day, celebrated on July 4h each year, is what I believe to be one of the most important days in history. The Declaration of Independence was presented by our fore-fathers who declared that it was crucial for our colonies to create a separate nation known as The United States of America. In part this document says we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When I say I am a “proud American” it is based on this declaration, this is what makes me a patriotic person. I can’t think of a better day, than the 4th of July, for me to venture out and travel the back roads of our great country, replacing torn and tattered flags with brand new American made flags at no cost to those receiving them. It is with great honor that I offer respect to my husband John, and our country by spreading patriotism one flag at a time.
4th of July (Independence Day) * Old fashioned Americana Road trip * American flags * National Parks * Back roads * Patriotism * Annie Amerika
To celebrate Flag Day today I decided to take my telescoping flag pole and my “John” memorial flag to the busiest intersection in Tonasket. I stood there with my flag proudly swaying in the slight breeze as I waved at the cars that passed by, some honked but all waved back. I was only out there for one hour when a truck pulled up and the young man inside said “thank you for holding the flag”, I said you’re welcome, it’s Flag Day. He pulled away and I noticed his specialty license plate, it said MC (Marine Corps) and on the back window was a Semper Fi sticker, then I realized his solemn voice spoke from his heart. I don’t stand out there for recognition for myself, I stand out there to remind everyone that it is a special day and I am a proud American.
We did it, we received enough donations to purchase 100 American flags. My goal for 2015 was to give away 100 new American flags. Annie Amerika is a non-profit charity, Annie travels the back roads of our country searching for tattered flags flying high on their poles with patriotic pride. Annie offers to replace their flags with brand new American made flags at no cost to them, all in honor of her late husband John, a disabled Vietnam Veteran. It brings honor to John and to our country by spreading patriotism one flag at a time. 2015 is going to be a great year, I can't wait to hit the road on July 4th. Please follow along with me as I travel and give away flags. I will be posting about the people I meet and the flags I give away. Thank you for your continued support.
One of the most common questions people ask is why I spell America, with a "k". When I decided to give away flags in honor of my husband John, I wanted to do it quietly and without personal recognition, after all it was about John not me. I liked the name Annie America. I researched and found that Annie America was already used in emails and in Facebook, since these would be my main means of communication what could I possibly do? I sent a message to Annie America on FB telling her my story and asking her to give up the name, I never heard from her. I started thinking about other names I could use and I always came back to Annie America. This is when I decided to change Annie America to Annie Amerika with a “k”. It is unique and in no way meant to be disrespectful or discourteous to our great nation. I am proud to be Annie Amerika, proud to be an American.
Although most of the country is cold and snowy, in Okanogan County Washington the sun is shining today and Jackie is flying her new flag. Jackie accepted a new flag and I hoisted it up for her. She told me that her father was in the Marines. Thank you Jackie for helping me spread patriotism one flag at a time…
Today was a great day because I gave a new American flag to Wendy of Brewster WA. Wendy was affected by the Carlton Complex fire that swept through the area this past July. 300 homes were damaged or destroyed. Wendy has worked hard to put her life back together. When I asked Wendy why she flies the flag she said because she is "damn proud to be .ckan American!" She also told me that her father and grandpas were in the military. Thank you Wendy for your patriotism!