While the stars and stripes of the American flag fly high on a daily basis, one day a year, the red, white and blue banner is the object of particular reverence.
About 40 people gathered to recognize Flag Day Wednesday afternoon at Hagerstown’s annual celebration of the holiday at University Plaza.
An AMVETS Post 10 color/honor guard, the Marine Corps League of Hagerstown and Boy Scout Troop 2 all attended the ceremony. Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Robert Stouffer Jr., commander of the Sons of AMVETS Department of Maryland, spoke about what the holiday means to them.
“We feel the pride, the camaraderie of a common cause that we as Hagerstownians, Washington Countians and Americans share,” Bruchey said.
Members of Girls Inc. sang “God Bless America” for the crowd, and Abigail Nigh, who has performed at several past Flag Day celebrations, sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
In a short speech, Stouffer said recognition of the flag on Flag Day is meaningful to veterans who fought to secure freedom for America.
“Ask yourself, what does it mean to you?” he told the crowd.
Danielle Carlisle, 14, who sang with Girls Inc., said on Flag Day it is especially important to remember and honor members of theU.S. Armed Forces, such as her uncle, who is serving in Afghanistan.
Several other members of the group agreed the holiday means freedom to them.
“I think Flag Day means that you celebrate what the Army has done for us and anybody who keeps us united as America,” said 9-year-old Abigail Niang.
Although President Harry Truman made Flag Day an official national holiday in 1949, President Woodrow Wilson established the holiday in a proclamation signed on May 30, 1916 — almost a century ago, Bruchey pointed out.
“It’s a bunch of people coming together to celebrate how America came together,” said Mia Joyce, 9.
“We’re celebrating how much our flag means to us. We are just really happy that we’re America.”