Oct 1st, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Oct 1st, 2008 at 12:00 AM
As 86-year-old Elliott Moody of Paris, Tenn., shuffled across the pier, heads turned.
It was a Saturday, just minutes before first light at Tennessee’s Paris Landing State Park on Kentucky Lake. The Bassmaster Central Open pros were lining up their boats to take off for the final day of competition.
Moody was carrying a long pole, around which was wrapped an American flag trimmed with braided gold-colored fringe. When he reached the end of the pier, he slowly raised the flag pole high above his head and made a few stabs at inserting the end into a hole in one of the massive dock pilings. The long pole quivered in his hands, the eagle finial bobbing above the water.
An onlooker asked if she could help him. No spring chicken herself, she and Moody were able to anchor the pole and unfurl the flag.
“Why did you bring this flag here today?” she asked him.
“It’s what I do for all these tournaments,” said Moody, adding that he was a Navy veteran of World War II, and that his two brothers had survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. “It’s for all the soldiers.”
When the national anthem struck up, Moody clapped his hand over his heart, stepped close to the flag pole and tilted his head far back, eyes on the Stars and Stripes directly above him. He kept his pose throughout the entire song.
In his hand was a Tennessee cap autographed by Bill Dance, the three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.