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Honoring Old Glory

Marine Veteran Richard Duran makes his way to the Hobbs VA Community Based Outreach Clinic each morning, rain-or-shine, with a sense of duty guiding his steps. His simple but meaningful task, to grasp Old Glory, gently unfurl it and send it up the Hobbs clinic flagpole.

Marine Veteran Richard Duran salutes the flag

For Veterans like Duran, the love of the flag runs deep as a steadfast symbol of their unwavering commitment to their country.

“The day the new Hobbs clinic opened up I saw there was a need for someone to take the flag down every day. I volunteered immediately and was able to bring my grandson along to teach him the meaning of the flag and what it symbolizes for Veterans today,” Duran shared.

Having served in Vietnam, Duran understands the sacrifices made by those who wore the uniform. He experienced the war, felt the weight of loss and witnessed the resilience of the human spirit. For him, caring for the flag is a way to honor the memory of his fallen comrades and pay homage to the American values his brothers-in-arms fought to defend.

“The flag means everything to me.”

“I take pride in my country because I signed up to fight for it. The flag means everything to me. It represents a lot of what my friends and I did over there,” he continued.

Despite the passage of time, Duran’s sense of duty never wanes. His days are spent tending to the flag with meticulous care, ensuring it flies proudly in the breeze. Each fold, each snap of the fabric echoed with reverence a tribute to those who served and those who never made it back home.

“Some people didn’t come home, so this is my way of honoring them. Every time I change the flag or see it, it keeps their memory alive in my heart so they are never forgotten,” he said.

Duran’s devotion doesn’t go unnoticed. Patients and staff alike often pause to watch him, moved by the sight of a man volunteering his time who embodies the true spirit of service. Some approach him offering words of gratitude or simply a nod of acknowledgement. To Duran, these moments are a reminder that the bonds forged in service transcended time and circumstance.

“We see Mr. Duran as a patient and as a caretaker for our flag here,” said Jessica Taylor, health information specialist. “His respect and care for the flag really shows the patriotic spirit we have with our Veterans.”

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