George Worthy
George Worthy

I mean, you are not reading this on June 14, 2024, that is the real Flag Day. Well, not really. I mean it IS today, but you will be reading this after the fact. Due to the irregularities of the printing schedule, I have to have this in today, but it doesn’t get printed until Monday. That doesn’t change the fact of when we celebrate the day, just the printing.

The first Flag Day was celebrated on June 14 in 1777. It was a day set aside by The Second Continental Congress.

In Gonzales, we will be having a celebration of Flag Day at the American Legion Hall on Fifth Street. If you have an old unserviceable or dirty flag, you are encouraged to drop it off at the American Legion Post at 419 Fifth St. anytime. There is a repository box outside and you can just stuff it in there. It will be given all the respect that our nation’s flag deserves. The public has been invited and there will be a program.

Paul Guzman, a Coast Guard veteran, will be speaking about the history of our flag and how it is to be prepared to be disposed of. Steve Fellows, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, will be illustrating how to properly prepare the flag for disposal. There will be pizza and drinks for all the attendees.

The American Legion as an organization is dedicated to honoring our flag and making sure they are handled correctly after they have worn out. Our Gonzales Post will be disposing flags from other Posts around mid California. I hope you came by.

I woke up this morning remembering lots of times The Flag has been in my life. When I went to grammar school in my hometown of Wasco, we would get off the bus and enter the classroom. We would stand and place our hand over our heart and recite the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag. I’m sure there were many other schools doing the same in those days.

In those days there were 48 stars in the blue field of the flags and an additional star was added when a new state was adapted to our nation. The latest additions were Alaska and Hawaii. I’m old enough to remember when that happened. I’m sure there were arguments by both sides as to whether they should have been, as politics were involved.

I didn’t memorize the Pledge until my family moved to Arkansas. I was about 6 or 7 years old. I have a photo somewhere in my pile of memories where my mom was so happy that she moved an old red chair out onto the lawn and took my picture. It was a little later that I found out what the Pledge of Allegiance was all about. When you break that all down you can see why I truly enjoy writing about our Flag.

I remember the first time how reverent the Flag is to the military. I was driving on to the Post of Fort Ord for the first time. All of a sudden the car in front of me pulled over and the driver got out. I was taken by surprise and thought for a moment that something big had happened. I thought the enemy had attacked us. Then I noticed in my rearview window that the cars behind me were stopped and the drivers were all out of their car and saluting. The bugle was playing taps over a PA system that could be heard throughout the Post. That was the signal that The Flag was being lowered. It choked me a little to see such reverence.

The flag means a lot to the military; of course, that is an understatement. In Gonzales, we pay reverence to all the fallen members of the military at our Memorial Day service where we place a small flag at the head of all graves where a fallen military veteran has been laid to rest. In fact, nearly every service member has a flag cover their casket if they die while still serving. The Flag has been honored by almost every public employee and service organization.

If you are reading this after the ceremony at the American Legion Post, remember that The Flag is more than the sum of it’s parts. It has been revered by every foreign post and Consulate identifying as an American organization all over the world.

God Bless.

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Gonzales columnist George Worthy may be reached at [email protected].


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