"It means home," said Murphy, a self-described former "dogface" private who saw action with the 7th Infantry Division. "If you say it out loud, it sounds corny. But it means doing what you want to do - the American dream."
Murphy, a novelist who teaches creative writing and literature in CAS, describes the flag's symbolism in an essay, "Freedom Village," an eyewitness account of a prisoner-of-war exchange at the close of the Korean War.
The essay originated eight years ago as a piece for the Cape Cod Times, and has since appeared in veterans' newsletters and on the Internet. A reader submitted it for an anthology of veterans' stories, Chicken Soup for the Veteran's Soul, published this past year as part of the popular series of inspirational paperbacks.
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Murphy's essay was chosen to lead off the book. "The editor told me it was a tossup between me and John McCain," Murphy said, referring to the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate celebrated for his heroism in Vietnam.
College of Advancing Studies faculty member James Murphy Jr. (Photo by Mike Mergen)
"Freedom Village" describes a poignant scene as an American POW, having survived brutal treatment unbowed, encounters the American colors on his release from captivity.
"The flag meant everything," Murphy said. "For that boy coming over that bridge, the flag meant home, meant security, meant happiness.
"It meant that to me, too. It still does."
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