WASHINGTON CITY — A single tear rolled down American Legion Post 90 Commander Marti Bigbie’s cheek as she spoke about the American flag at an opening ceremony for the “Field of Flags” held Wednesday morning to commemorate Flag Day which takes place on June 14 every year.
Located in a bare field adjacent to Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Coral Canyon Blvd. in Washington City, 100 American flags have been erected to pay tribute to the symbol of the United States of America and those who sacrificed for the freedoms Americans enjoy today.
Field of Flags was the brainchild of American Legion Post 90 Sergeant-at-Arms Bob “Bodie” Bodenhamer, who told St. George News he had seen similar events in other communities and wanted to bring it to Washington County.
The event will act as a fundraiser for American Legion Post 90 so they can continue to offer services to the veterans, Bodenhamer said. Guests can sponsor a flag and honor a veteran by making a suggested donation of $15.
The ceremony was short but poignant and extolled the virtues of the flag and all it represents.
“These things do matter, symbols do matter,” said St. George Mayor Jon Pike, who gave a brief address at the ceremony.
Pike added that the flag’s symbolism captures the boldness of the first colonials in declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
The 13 red and white stripes on the American flag represent the 13 original colonies that declared their independence.
Wednesday’s observance of Flag Day marked the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the flag as the symbol of the nation in 1777 by the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the U.S. Army’s birthday on June 14, commemorating the day Congress adopted the Continental Army in 1775.
Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson also addressed the crowd in attendance. Neilson, pointing at his heart, said that honoring the freedom symbolized by the flag begins with each individual and then trickles through the family, out into the community, across the state and beyond.
Neilson said that making America great begins with the choices we make each day to do the right thing with our given freedoms.
“(The flag is) our symbol in America of the freedoms you and I enjoy as a result of the sacrifices of our forefathers,” Neilson said. “It’s a symbol of our freedom, it’s a symbol of hope, it’s a symbol of what we can accomplish in America.”
For Bigbie, the symbolism of the flag is made even more powerful by the service she rendered to the country.
“I fought for this flag,” she said. “To me it’s a symbol of our country.”
Bigbie is a member of the American Legion’s ritual team for American Legion. Part of their duty is to attend veteran’s funerals, she said. At each funeral the ritual team places the American flag on the casket of the deceased veteran. Bigbie said it is a way of passing on her gratitude to the veterans and their families for sacrificing for the country.
In addition to Mayors Pike and Neilson, the ceremony was attended by St. George City Councilwoman Michelle Randall, Boy Scouts of America Troop 0509, members of the St. George Chamber of Commerce, members of the Dixie Elks Lodge, officers from the Washington City Police Department and officers from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, including Sheriff Cory Pulshiper.
The Field of Flags will be on display daily from sunrise to sunset until Saturday. The Washington City Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office will be patrolling the area at night to protect the flags, Bigbie said.
Attendance is free and flag sponsorship is a suggested donation of $15.
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- What: American Legion Post 90 “Field of Flags.”
- When: Wednesday, June 14, through Saturday, June 17, sunrise to sunset.
- Where: Zion Harley Davidson, 2345 N. Coral Canyon Blvd., Washington City.
- Cost: Free; requested donation of $15 to sponsor a flag.
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