Sons of the American Revolution displays flag collection downtown

Sunday, July 3, 2005

The Allen Laws Oliver chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution displayed its collection of 27 U.S. flags, depicting changes in design as the country grew, at Murtaugh Park on Saturday.

The local SAR group, chartered in 1989, has 24 members. It meets every first Saturday of the month at the Red House Interpretive Center, across from Murtaugh Park, to discuss history with visitors and assist individuals who are researching family trees. Easily spotted in period costume, members often don attire of their patriot ancestor, whom they've traced back to the Revolutionary War, a requirement for SAR membership.

Anyone interested in participating in period dress of living history at the Red House, whether or not a member of SAR, is welcome.

Acquired in November, the SAR flag collection begins with the 1777 design representing the 13 colonies, to the last change in design in 1960 after Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state.

The local SAR's flag collection, valued at over $3,000, is unique to SAR chapters in Missouri. The Local Painter's Union 1292 donated $3,000 for the flags, and the difference was made up by the Red House Foundation and the SAR. The city of Cape Girardeau was instrumental in installing the flag holders at Murtaugh Park.

Ongoing goals of the local chapter include marking graves of Revolutionary War soldiers as they are discovered.

SAR secretary Leon Lefler said, "At one time there were five Revolutionary War soldiers who were members of the Old Bethel Church. They may not have been buried there but were members. Someday we'd like to have a plaque erected" to honor them.

The local SAR has a color guard that posts the colonial and current flag at community events. Recently the guard served at Kimbeland Country Club's VFW outing, benefiting Missouri veterans and the Cape Girardeau VFW groundbreaking.

Recognition of high school students with an aptitude for history is part of the local SAR's educational outreach, and a recent display of flags at Westfield West Park mall on Flag Day promoted history in the community.

335-6611, extension 133

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