It’s dark, cold and rainy after work. I’d like to go home but I’ve committed to swinging by a fund raiser for the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. I sit shivering in my car and think about blowing it off. I know for me, that is an impossibility. Not because anybody would care if I didn’t show up, but because I would care. Doing what I say I am going to do is a soap box I’ve preached upon for years.
Another soap box is saying “yes” to most things when asked. So, when artist Pat Matthews called to invite Grady and me to the event, for which he donated one of his famous flag paintings, we accepted.
That night I met a past pro baseball player and current LA sports caster, Rick Monday. This Batesville, Arkansas native was the celebrity of the evening and was recently honored for what he did over 40 years ago.
In 1976, a protester jumped over the fence at Dodger Stadium and ran onto the field with the intention of setting fire to an American flag. Rick (a former Marine) saw the commotion and impulsively charged onto the field, scooped up the flag and ran off. The crowd broke into applause. This act of patriotism made national news and him a life-long legend.
Although Mr. Monday was the first player selected in the first round of the 1965 Baseball Draft and was also the player who hit the ninth inning home run in the 1981 World Series championship, he will be forever remembered for his instinctive act of ‘saving the flag.’
That night, the view from atop my soap box proved to be nice. So glad I didn’t go home.