ST. GEORGE — Veterans of the United States armed forces and members of American Legion Post 90, along with state and local dignitaries, joined community members Thursday morning at the Dixie Center St. George to participate in a ceremony officially opening the 2018 “Field of Flags.”
Now in its second year, Field of Flags is hosted by American Legion Lester Keate Post 90 to commemorate the adoption of the American flag as a symbol of America and honor the veterans and active duty military members who have served and continue to serve the country.
Approximately 100 American flags have been placed in the grass at the Dixie Center creating a patriotic display that is open to the community.
Flags will remain on display until Saturday at 6 p.m.
At Thursday’s ceremony, Post 90 Vice Commander Terry Dunne discussed the history of both the American flag and Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that replaced the British symbols of the “Grand Union Flag” with a new flag of 13 white stars arranged in a circle on a blue background with 13 alternating red and white horizontal stripes, Dunne said.
That flag was used during the American Revolutionary War from 1777 until 1783.
The first 13 stars on the flag represented the 13 original British colonies. Today there are 50 stars representing each state that makes up the United States.
Utah was the 45th state admitted to the union and its star is located on the bottom left corner of the blue background.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson made a presidential proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day, and in August 1949, an act of Congress signed into law by President Harry S. Truman officially established June 14 as National Flag Day.
June 14 also commemorates the birth of the United States Army, which was established two years before the adoption of the American flag in 1775, Dunne said.
In his address, Dunne provided the following additional information about the flag:
- The first American flag is often called the “Betsy Ross” flag, but it has not been proven that Ross did indeed design the first flag.
- It is never OK to fly an American flag upside down unless the person doing so is signaling that they are in distress.
- It is OK to wash and/or dry clean an American flag.
- Flags that have been used on caskets for funerals can be flown afterward.
State and local dignitaries spoke to those in attendance about their reverence for the flag and its symbolic meaning.
“Symbols mean more than just – in the case of the flag – a piece of cloth,” said Rep. V. Lowry Snow.
One of the reasons the flag is so revered, he said, is that sometimes people don’t always have the words to express their gratitude to those who fought for and served the country, so the flag becomes a symbol of the words that cannot be expressed.
Snow said he was proud to attend the ceremony to be able to not only recognize the flag as a symbol of democracy and freedom but most importantly to recognize it as a symbol and tribute to those who gave so much for the country.
Washington County Commission candidate Gil Almquist expressed his love for the flag and the United States.
“There are some things that are so sacred and so symbolic of the sacrifices of our country. It goes deep into my heart that we need to honor the flag and show that honor no matter where we are and what we do.”
American Legion Post 90 Commander Marti Bigbie implored those in attendance to never lose their patriotism.
“I pray that this community will never lose their patriotic reverence to the American flag and our nation.”
The short ceremony also featured Boy Scouts of America Troop 509 leading the Pledge of Allegiance, a rendition of the national anthem sung by sisters Zayne and Jacqueline Thomas and a special award presentation to American Legion Post 90 member Thomas Woodsworth given to him by members of his family.
Additional speakers included St. George City Council member Bette Arial, Adam Snow speaking on behalf of Rep. Chris Stewart and junior ROTC cadet Richard Armstrong, who read a letter sent from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.
JROTC cadet Connor Byrnes closed the ceremony by playing “Taps” on the bugle.
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- What: American Legion Post 90 “Field of Flags.”
- When: Flags will be on display until Saturday, June 16 at 6 p.m.
- Where: Dixie Center St. George, 1835 S. Convention Center Drive, St. George.
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