Flag Day more meaningful after Sept. 11

Friday, June 14, 2002

Americans will pay tribute to Old Glory today, flying their flags high in honor of Flag Day.

Some believe today's observation will be more meaningful than in the past due to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the fact the nation is at war.

"The way things are now after September 11, everyone respects the flag," said Herbert Nance of Cape Girardeau, a veteran who sells flags.

In Cape Girardeau, there will be special flag displays across the city, including the display at Capaha Park.

The First Presbyterian Church will feature a flag display around the perimeter of the church, located on the 200 block of Broadway.

"The flag display shows ... we believe that this nation is one nation under God," said the Rev. Paul Kabo.

For Nance, the flag represents the unity of this country, which makes it so great.

"Whenever you see one you should stop, take a look at it, and think of what it means to you," he said.

Although only nationally observed for a little more than 50 years, Flag Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years. B.J. Cigrand, a schoolteacher in Wisconsin, had his students observe June 14 as Flag Birthday in 1885.

Flag Day gained national recognition May 30, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson declared a proclamation making June 14 a day to celebrate the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777.

President Harry Truman officially made June 14 National Flag Day through an act of Congress on Aug. 3, 1949.

Nance said some Americans, although they participate in the observance, don't understand how to show proper respect for the flag. Flag etiquette can be complicated, but there are some basic rules. Those include only flying the flag from sunrise to sunset unless properly lit after dark, having the stars and blue field at the top end of a vertical pole and making sure the flag does not touch the ground.

Charlie Thrower, quartermaster of VFW Post 3838, said he has seen an improvement in flag etiquette over the last couple of years, especially with fewer tattered flags being flown.

When a flag has become tattered or torn, it should be taken down.

The American Legion will participate in a flag disposal ceremony at 6 p.m. today at the Veterans Home in Cape Girardeau. The local Girl Scout council also will conduct a flag disposal ceremony today.

jjoffray@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 226

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