LIMA — On this date, 233 years ago, the Continental Congress adopted the U.S. flag. A flag that has flown at countless battle sites and graced the graves of veterans.
The symbolism of this cloth extends beyond Betsy Ross and Francis Scott Key, and area organizations sought to honor it with Flag Day celebrations.
“It represents freedom,” said Peter Noyes, veteran chairman of the Benevolent and Protection Order of Elks Lodge 54, in Lima. “It represents our heritage.”
The Lima Elks Lodge held its 102nd Flag Day ceremony Sunday, presenting the history of the flag and its importance.
“I came because it just gives you a renewed sense of your patriotism and reminds you of how grateful we should be for everything our country has given us,” said Betty Wharton, a Lima resident and Blue Star Mothers representative.
Wharton said the flag represents freedom as well as unity.
“It means that we are all one and we all stand together with our flag to make our lives and our descendants lives’ better,” she said.
Tom Martin, publicity chairman for Veterans of Foreign Wars and speaker at the ceremony, said the day holds great importance.
“Anytime that you can present the flag and represent the flag, it’s always important. That’s the symbol of our nation, and that’s what we fought for,” he said.
Serving in the Marine Corps from 1959 to 1964, Martin served during the Cuban missile crisis. He said he is also on the funeral detail for the VFW, presenting folded flags to families.
Martin said his experiences have given him a different view of the flag, and he differentiates between the terms American, meaning all North American countries, and U.S., the preferred name.
“It’s a proper term, I guess, but when you get older like me and you understand where you’re coming from and what you fought for, the flag means a lot different things to different people,” he said.
The Shawnee Optimist Club has also started a program, displaying 65 flags at various location in Lima during patriotic holidays. The idea was borrowed from Centerville’s Optimist Club’s “The Avenue of Flags.”
Cheryl Morgan, a Shawnee Optimist Club member, said 10-foot flags are posted at 9 a.m. and removed before dusk.
“To me, it symbolizes freedom,” she said.
Morgan’s father was a Korean War veteran, and recognizing individuals who’ve served our country is part of the program’s purpose.
“I think if you attend any, like a Memorial Day service, I think you can just see the heartfelt on their faces when they see the American flag,” she said. “I know my brother-in-law was in the Air Force, and I mean, the flag went by, and he still saluted to this day.”
U.S. flag embodies freedom, symbol of nation