One year ago, I was standing outside the Crowne Plaza Hotel telling my co-worker Rob about the two flags I had purchased for the Exchange Clubs of Billings, “Healing Field.”
My heart hardened as he tearfully mentioned that he really wanted to get a flag to honor his friend Marie’s son but just couldn’t afford it. He wasn’t asking for my help but I resented it anyway. After-all, I had already purchased two flags and he makes more money than me!
Tommy and I arrived at Par 3 Golf Course a little early the day of the opening ceremonies. I was in a rather hormonally precarious mood when Marie stuck her head through the van with a big smile and hello. Noticing my face, she took a step back and asked, “What’s wrong?” I assured her that I just needed a few minutes and she went on her way. Within seconds I knew I would be buying another flag.
I saw Rob about 10 feet away and called out to him just in case Marie already had her flag. No use spending another hundred I really didn’t have if she did. Rob yelled back, “I don’t have time!” and I proceeded to chase him half way around the golf course just to ask, “Did Marie get her flag?” “No,” was the answer, she did not.
I ran back across the course, quickly wrote a hundred dollar check and grabbed a Healing Field form for Marie’s information. She cried the entire time she was filling it out. Marie had just laid her son to rest, a son who had enlisted to serve shortly after 9/11.
A few days later, Marie wrote a note to the Exchange Clubs of Billings sincerely thanking them and letting them know how much the Healing Field meant to her. She had been very bitter since 9/11 and was finally able to begin healing. I thanked God for softening my heart at the last possible second and asked that I get there a little sooner next time.
On behalf of Woodstock, Jim Rubich, and Marie, I invite you to join us at this year’s Healing Field and 9/11 Memorial Ceremonies. Stop by MSUB College of Technology day or night from 9/8 through 9/12. You can purchase a flag at the Exchange Clubs tent if you would like to honor someone you love. Come feel healed at the Healing Field.