“We are here to honor the men and women that served under the flag that flies all over the world and those that were willing to sacrifice their lives in defense of their flag.”
Those were the words of emcee and Highland County Veterans Honor Guard member member Gerald “Buzzard” Wilkin during a flag retirement ceremony held Thursday at AMVETS of Hillsboro Post 61 and sponsored by the Waw-wil-a-way Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Thursday was Flag Day and Wilkin said this was the 12th year the DAR has sponsored the ceremony. It is held at the AMVETS on even years and Hillsboro VFW Post 9094 on odd years.
Hanna Hopper, volunteer services coordinator for the Georgetown Veterans Home, was the guest speaker for the event and she presented several Highland County veterans organizations with certificates of appreciation and coffee mugs in recognition of all they do – both financially and volunteering – for the veterans home.
“I want to make sure you are thanked, loud and clear, for what you do for our veterans. They are very appreciative of it. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Hopper said.
She said the mugs she gave to the local volunteers at the home are “a reminder that what you do is appreciated and does not go unnoticed.”
Others who spoke during the ceremony reminded the crowd of the importance of honoring the flag.
“Do we need a reminder to fly the flag? I don’t think we should,” Ian Cunningham, past president of the local Highlanders Sons of the American Revolution Chapter, said after reading a list of days that the flag should be flown. “I’m a flag waver. But when we read the newspapers and watch TV, a lot of people don’t know how to behave.” He said that if more people took time to honor the flag, the country would be better off.
Gary Smith, local AMVETS commander, said that to him, the flag is a humbling symbol.
“The most humbling thing to me is to see a veteran being buried and that flag draped over the casket,” Smith said. “It’s a sign of freedom and what they fought for. If you don’t even know them, it brings a tear to your eye.”
Some of the days the flag should be displayed, according to Cunningham, are: New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, Lincoln’s birthday on Feb. 12, Washington’s birthday on the third Monday in February, Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May, Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday in May, Memorial Day on the last Monday in May, Flag Day on June 14, Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June, Independence Day on July 4, Labor Day on the first Monday in September, Citizenship Day on Sept. 17, Columbus Day on the second Monday in October, Election Day on the second Tuesday in November, Pearl Harbor Day on Dec. 7, and other state and local holidays.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on June 14, 1777 by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress.
Starting in 1985, late Hillsboro resident Norman DeHaas organized Flag Day ceremonies in Highland County that included erecting a new flag and flag pole at the location where the ceremonies were held. After organizing the event for 19 years, DeHaas passed away and his family continued the ceremony for a few years until the DAR, AmVets and VFW took them over.
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 each year. The day that also serves as the birthday of the U.S. Army.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]