Two dirty flags were proudly displayed in the County Clerk’s office at the top floor of the old courthouse on Public Square Thursday morning.
The flags – one an American flag and the other a Commonwealth of Kentucky flag – were presented to the office by local resident Adam Decker, who just returned from a tour in Afghanistan with the Navy’s Mobile Construction Battalion 14.
The flags were proudly flown by Decker at the Jalalabad, Afghanistan base where he was stationed, “and they’ve got the dirt to prove it,” he laughed.
During Decker’s eight months away from home, he said he received a deluge of support, largely in the form of care packages, from Grayson County friends, family, churches, businesses, and the County Clerk’s office.
In one beaten and battered box, he and the eleven other men in his group found the two large, folded flags along with an assortment of other items, like packages of peanut butter crackers.
When the package arrived, Decker said, “four other guys beat me to it.”
He laughed as he attempted to explain the excitement felt by each of them anytime a box came in from the states. He said the entire group divvied up the contents of the box and that not an item was wasted.
He said that one fellow Navy man from Puerto Rico asked him, ‘Decker, how do you get all these boxes?’ to which he replied, ‘People love you.’
“He didn’t understand that,” Decker said.
He went on to say, “If it wasn’t for the people back here, I don’t know how a guy could make it. I wouldn’t have made it.”
“I’m happy I’m from here.” Decker added, “Kentucky is a fine place. I’ve been to four countries and a lot of states, and I’m glad I live here.”
Of his time in foreign service, he said, “We’re trained to do what we have to do. That’s easy. But it’s hardest on the people back home. They didn’t know if we were coming home, if we were hurt.”
Decker’s wife, Alex, stood by his side at the presentation holding their youngest daughter, a well-mannered almost-two-year-old with blonde curls. The couple has an older daughter in kindergarten as well.
Alex Decker said that when her husband shipped out, it was very difficult “taking everything on by myself.”
Decker’s mother, Susan, said, “as a mother, it was hard, but it was something he really, really wanted to do.” She said that her son’s departure was made even more difficult from having already lost a brother in Vietnam.
The group of family, friends, and veterans present at Thursday’s presentation was all smiles, however, as Decker was passed around from person to person, receiving hugs, handshakes, and most of all gratitude for his service to our country.
Visitors to the Clerk’s office can see the dirt-spattered flags hanging proudly as a reminder of the men and women from Grayson County and across the nation who put their own lives at risk to protect the liberties which make our country truly great.