Out of a tragedy our family built a tradition that keeps us united.

Our brother, Benny

Our brother, Benny

On a day in September, now known simply as 9/11, planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City.

I think we all felt a sense of helplessness. What can I do so show my support of those who lost their lives that day? How do I say that I am proud to be a citizen of the United States?

Our brother overcame that feeling with a simple act. That weekend, he went to a nearby overpass and waved a huge flag while waving at traffic on the interstate. People honked, and waved, and honked again.

A few family members joined him over the next few weeks and were gratified by the continued honking and waving at the man on the overpass waving a flag.

Our family had planned a reunion around the upcoming 4th of July holiday, and it was decided that we could make quite a statement if we all went to the overpass and waved flags. We wore red, white and blue, decorated a trailer, grabbed a flag from the myriad available and headed to the overpass.  The cars honked, and waved and honked again.

For the next decade plus, come the Fourth of July, that’s where you could find the Smith clan. Gathered as a family celebrating our freedoms – piled in the back of a truck headed down a dirt road – connected on an overpass waving flags.

siblings-staying connected through tradition

The Five


The Brothers

Family staying connected through tradition

Family-staying connected through tradition


I’m not sure when a repeated activity becomes a “tradition” but I know that traditions can be the glue that holds a family together providing that all too rare chance to have face-to-face communication. I know that the tradition of standing on the overpass waving flags with my family gives me a feeling like no other. I am a part of something unique and wonderful.


Thank you, Benny, for keeping us connected by establishing, nurturing and continuing this treasured tradition.