Thirty-six years ago this week, April 25, 1976, an inspiring event took place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. In the bottom of the fourth inning in a game between the Dodgers and Cubs, a man and his son raced into centerfield where they dropped to their knees and prepared to set fire to an American flag. Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday took quick action, running to where the two were dousing the flag with lighter fluid and snatching it away from them. The crowd, so thankful that Monday had saved the flag, broke out singing “God Bless America.” I imagine that song has rarely sounded as sweet as it did that day.
Monday later stated, “If you’re going to burn the flag, don’t do it around me. I’ve been to too many veterans’ hospitals and seen too many broken bodies of guys who tried to protect it.”
The Batesville, Arkansas native, who served six years in the Marine Reserves, was presented that flag later in the 1976 season during a ceremony at Wrigley Field. Now 66, Monday still has the flag and has reportedly turned down as much as $1 million offers from people wanting to buy it. It is a special flag and Monday was a special hero 36 years ago, the day he saved Old Glory.