June 14 and a flag in all its glory

June 14 is Flag Day ... a day to display “Old Glory,” “The Stars and Stripes,” or “The Star Spangled Banner,” as our colorful national symbol is alternately known.

Regardless of agreements and disagreements, likes and dislikes, and so much “noise” surrounding us down below, our nation’s flag flies proudly above, representing the struggles, sacrifices and accomplishments that formed a mighty nation. It reminds us of the greater whole of which we are all a part.

Flag gazing should also remind us that our freedom and rights should be preserved and never, ever, taken for granted.

Flag Day dates back 239 years to when the Second Continental Congress adopted the red-white-and-blue standard on June 14, 1777.  If not recalling the year, many of us should envision the early flag with a circle of 13 white stars on a field of blue and 13 rows of alternating red and white stripes.

We’ve picked up 37 stars for each additional state since then; many residents of Westlake and Bay Village were around when the final two stars were added in 1959. (Alaska became a state on Jan. 3 and Hawaii on Aug. 21.) Accordingly, school-aged children recited the Pledge of Allegiance to 48, 49 and 50-star flags in close succession! 1959 must have been a banner year for flag makers!

June 14 also happens to be the Army’s birthday. The Second Continental Congress established the American Continental Army two years earlier: June 14, 1775. Happy 241st!

Area residents who “love a parade” and might enjoy filling the gap between local Memorial Day and Independence Day commemorations, take note: Appleton, Wisconsin, boasts the nation’s oldest Flag Day parade. Saturday, June 11, 2016, marks its 66th consecutive event. (If you’re reading the WBVO early enough, you can still make it. Otherwise, “there’s always next year!”)

Appleton is roughly an eight-hour drive via the land route through Chicago. However, with a few more hours to spare, there’s a “land/sea” or, more accurately, “land/lake” route worth considering. The S.S. Badger offers car and passenger ferry service between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, (about an hour away from Appleton). Having the chance to relax aboard the ferry, catch lake breezes and avoid Chicago traffic is a nice option.

Who knows? Less time spent on the road might reduce your chance of getting flagged for speeding. Similarly, you might avoid having to flag somebody down, in case your car gets a flat, blows a gasket, or runs out of gas. And even if you cringe when your children (or grandchildren) express themselves by sporting freak flags, as long as they’ve worked hard and didn’t flag any of their classes, why not treat them to a wholesome family excursion?  

Consider that while in Appleton you could enjoy consuming renowned Wisconsin cheese until waving the white flag after downing too much creamy comfort food. (Just be mindful that taking in too much cholesterol may raise a red flag at your next physical exam!)

Wherever or however you mark June 14, remember to pay tribute to the Grand Old Flag!

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:47 AM, 06.07.2016