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Photo by Jacqueline Bennett October/2012 Commander Dan Nolan presents a flag he brought home from a tour of duty to a little Windsor, Connecticut girl who had faithfully helped with the community service project “Send Hometown Windsor To The Troops”.

 

Commentary by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com

 

The Stars & Stripes mean so much …

 

Yesterday I came across an article out of Harwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, about a program at the local community center whereby flags which once draped the caskets of veterans of the United States Armed Forces can be flown on the center’s flagpole. Immediately I was struck by what a wonderful idea this is, an opportunity for an outstanding tribute to those who have served.

 

It meant so much to one family that relatives drove down from Maine on the day their family member’s flag flew, according to the story written by Susanna Graham-Pye in the Cape Cod Daily News. I can understand making a trip of that distance for a moment that special. I had two uncles, my mother’s brothers Al and Bunker Generous, who served during World War II, and our great ‘Uncle’ Frank Sheedy, on my dad’s side, served in World War I. Gladly, I would make a trip to be present for the raising & flying of flags that represented their service and devotion to country, especially knowing how moving it would have been for my parents.

 

On the hutch in my dining room is an image of the three firefighters resurrecting the American flag following the September 11, 2001 attack in New York City – an image which continues to resonate nearly 15 years later. A flag, which Francis Scott Key so eloquently wrote about nearly 200 hundred years earlier, asking if it still prevailed “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”. When a friend returned from tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq he brought back a few flags which had flown at American bases there. Particularly memorable for me was the presentation of one such flag to a little girl who had faithfully participated in a community service project for those stationed in the two war zones. Undoubtedly, the presentation of that flag will stay with her throughout her life.

 

The Stars & Stripes mean so much …

 

The first flag flew at the Harwich community center last month thanks to its director, Carolyn Carey. Apparently, there is more than one school of thought about unfolding the thirteen folds of a previously draped flag. Doing so it was noted however, does not violate the “Flag Code’ and in fact some veterans ask that their flags be flown on special days.

 

Part of the beauty of the Harwich program is its simplicity. It is free and available to anyone connected to the community, perhaps even beyond. It would be great to see other communities follow suit because – The Stars & Stripes mean so much …

For more information about the Harwich program contact 508-430-7568.

 

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