There is a new flagpole behind Bill’s Welding Shop in Dora.
Twenty-four feet tall and gleaming white, it’s topped with a simple cross, and home to a pristine American flag.
The pole is a tribute built and erected by Bill and Joeli Cathey for their son, Cade, who will officially graduate Friday from the United States Marine Corps’ grueling 13-week basic training program in Camp Pendleton, Calif.
“We’ve never had anyone in our family in the military,” Joeli said. “Bill and I wanted to do this to honor Cade.”
When the family arrives home with Cade — who doesn’t yet know about the new Dora landmark — they’ll add a second flag, the striking red Marine banner.
The pole is full of symbolism for the Cathey family: The cross speaks of their belief in the power of prayer during Cade’s experience, and the flag just below is a reminder that “we are one nation under God,” Joeli said.
But what makes this story especially meaningful is that when this newest Marine entered the world 22 years ago next Tuesday, he was three months early and tipped the scale at two pounds, nine ounces. Doctors gave him three days to live.
Semper Fidelis. Always faithful. It’s not only the Marine Corps motto. It’s a Cathey family tradition.
Betty Williamson is honored to tip her hat this week to Cade Cathey, and also to his longtime friend, Dan Massey, who graduates in the same ceremony.
You may reach her at email@example.com.