Patriotic family's flag flies across the country for Marine son

Kathy Uek

Some people fly the flag on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the Fourth of July and other U.S. holidays. One family, however, is so enamored with the flag and what it means that over the past year a single flag they own has flown at venues across the nation.

"The flag is made up of many threads, and it represents the fabric of our country," said Byron Meads, whose son, Capt. Jordan Meads, a Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School grad, is currently fighting in Iraq.

"There are hundreds of men and women who serve for the flag," he added. "The color of red represents the blood shed for our country. It always meant something to my family. We have many generations who have served in the military, including maternal and paternal grandfathers, who served in World War II."

The younger Meads graduated from L-S in 1999 and the U.S. Naval Academy in 2003 - two of the more than a dozen places the flag his father owns has flown.

"Lincoln-Sudbury played a huge part in those formative years," said Meads. "Students there are challenged to think in an objective way to draw their own conclusions."

At the flag ceremony at Lincoln-Sudbury on Oct. 19, in attendance were many of Jordan’s instructors and students as well as his football coach, counselor and superintendent Dr. John Ritchie, who remember him well.

"He came here the same year I did in the fall of 1996," said Ritchie. "I connected with him. His family moved from Texas to Sudbury knowing the school was good, but not being prepared for the LS culture with a celebration of diversity and freedom for kids. He held his own. He loved the school and they loved him."

A laughing Ritchie remembers one problem a teacher had with the boy from the south: "He couldn’t get Jordan to stop calling him ‘Sir’ "

Meads, described by his father as a serious person, always enjoyed a challenge. At L-S, rather than join a particular group, he tried to associate with as many people as possible and was elected president of the student body, according to his father.

"While at the academy, he chose to be a Marine, and was offered a pilot position, which he turned down," said Byron Meads, who remembers his son telling him why: "I didn’t come here to work with a piece of equipment, I came here to lead people."

Capt. Meads now serves as a logistics officer responsible for life supports, ammunition and vehicle systems for his battalion.

When he returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq, he presented his father with a flag that had flown on his birthday, June 11, 2006, over the base in Al Qaim, Iraq.

"I was deeply touched to receive such a special gift," said Byron Meads, "that he thinks of me and arranges to have the flag saved and given to me."

When Meads prepared for his second deployment to Iraq in August 2007, his father and mother, wanted to give him a memorable gift.

Reminded once again of the importance of the flag, Meads and his wife, Nita, decided to have the flown in as many places of significance to their son.

The travels of the flag this year include:

  • June 6, Washington, D.C., on Jordan’s birthday.
  • June 22, Tyler, Texas, his place of birth.
  • June 30, Yantis, Texas, descendants of his paternal great-grandparents.
  • July 4, Denison, Texas, home of his maternal grandparents.
  • July 15, Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where he was baptized.
  • July 18, Boy Scouts of America, where he began his scouting.
  • July 21, Honey Grove, Texas, home of his great-grandparents.
  • July 23, New Boston, Texas, home of paternal grandparents.
  • Aug. 1, Tyler, Texas, his parents’ home.
  • Aug. 3, Twentynine Palms, Calif., where it was displayed at Meads’ promotion to captain.
  • Sept. 27, state capital in Austin, Texas.
  • Oct. 19, Lincoln-Sudbury High School.
  • Nov. 10, U.S. Naval Academy.

At Lincoln-Sudbury, some students made banners. Some made posters, and many pictures were taken. They were included with the flag in the package his parents mailed to their 26-year-old son last week. Also included were letters and documentation of where and when the flag was raised.

"His service is a continuation of a family tradition of service to the country and a symbol of the men and women who serve," said Byron Meads. "It’s a patriotic issue. I’m extremely proud he has chosen to serve his country."

The elder Meads said many people have asked if he and his wife are worried about their son being in Iraq.

"Of course we are," he said. "We also have a tremendous level of confidence and faith that everything will be OK. We don’t want to think about a phone call or a government car pulling up in front of our house. We don’t dwell on it, we think about his homecoming."