When Judy’s son Michael Lally came with his amazing wife Sabrina to visit us in Sarasota earlier this month, we planned a special surprise for him. I consider him my son and am proud of his love for family and country.
His entire career involved putting his life on the line for other people. He has a warrior spirit and has always been willing to do what many won’t, so that the many can live in peace.
He served in the army as a young man, later joining the local police force, rising to the rank of Assistant Chief of Police before retiring due to life altering injuries.
The week before they came…
Judy and I went to Siesta Key for an evening visit to the beach. It just happened that as we drove by Patriots Point, I noticed flags waving in the wind and heard the famous “Bugle Call: Assembly” playing.
We stopped to see what was going on and there was a Flag Ceremony in progress which had been started by the father of the woman, Anne Overbeck, seen assisting in the taking down of the flag. She was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked, and her father was a submarine commander who had taken down 12 enemy ships.
Being a fierce patriot, her father started this flag ceremony shortly after his return from the war. After his passing, Mike Cosentino carried on the tradition. Even during hurricane Ian last year when the water was several feet deep at the flagpole, the ceremony continued uninterrupted by Mike, with the help of Wayne Bundy.
When it was over, I spoke with the folks in charge telling them that we would bring Michael by the next week as a surprise. That’s when the Mike, the main organizer suggested having Michael participate in the folding of the flag.
We happily agreed!
We got to the beach without Michael being aware anything was planned. The sun was beginning to make a glorious exit over the horizon, as it slipped past the multi-colored clouds into the night. The breezes were strong, calling all the flags to attention.
When the bugle sounded, we gathered around the flag to watch the ceremony get under way. They played the Star Spangled Banner and God bless America as the waving flags flapped to the music and every man, woman and child stood proudly with hand over heart, taking in the unexpected grandeur of the moment.
It was then, much to Michael’s surprise, they invited both he and I to fold the flag with Anne, the daughter of the WWII submarine commander assisting.
Judy, Sabrina and I are proud of Michael’s military service and public service in law enforcement. It was for us, a moving ceremony. At the end, they did something quite surprising which made a few eyes a bit sweaty.
Heartfelt thanks to Mike, Wayne and Anne at Patriots Pier for making this happen every day, rain or shine as they raise the flag to Reveille at 8 AM and lower it to Taps at sunset.
Watch this short video to see how it all ended.