Flag Day celebrated in Atmore

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, June 14, 2012

VFW Post 7016 collected flags for retirement on Flag Day.

June 14, 2012 was celebrated in various ways throughout the United States and flags were carefully unfurled to proclaim the pride of Americans everywhere.

Although Flag Day may not be as notable a holiday as others, for those who have fought for the right, and the rights of others, to display the American emblem, it holds a lot of meaning.

The American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars take it upon themselves every year to make sure the flag is displayed and in good condition, not only on Flag Day, but throughout the year.

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“We work together to make that happen,” said Jimmy Beck, Senior Vice Commander of the American Legion. “We see that the flags are housed in a special building at the American Legion. We work with the VFW to put the flags out on Flag Day every year. We usually have a burning ceremony on Flag Day, but we were under a ban order not to burn this year. Of course with the rain we had lately, the burn order has been lifted, but our plans are to have the flag burning ceremony on Veterans’ Day.

“We worked at the American Legion for a couple of hours on Flag Day, taking in old flags and replacing them with new ones wherever needed,” Beck added. “Many people don’t show the flags the respect they are due. But many of us have fought for that flag and it means a lot to us.”

The group put out about 40 to 45 flags and some POW/MIA flags were also displayed. Beck said that is their way of honoring those who may still be missing or prisoners somewhere in the world.

Flag Day was adopted in 1777 by the Continental Congress and in the last 235 years, some form of recognition has continued to be observed. Those who have fought and died for this country believe it should be given a time of its own to be recognized. According to the Flag Day website, one oral tradition that has been passed down through the several generations is that on June 14, Theodore Roosevelt was dining outside Philadelphia, when he noticed a man wiping his nose with what he thought was the American Flag. In outrage, Roosevelt picked up a small wooden rod and began to whip the man for “defacing the symbol of America.” After about five or six strong whacks, he noticed that the man was not wiping his nose with a flag, but with a blue handkerchief with white stars. Upon realization of this, he apologized to the man, but hit him once more for making him “riled up with national pride.”