A star-spangled day

Banner waves in Hagerstown on Flag Day

Banner waves in Hagerstown on Flag Day

June 15, 2005|by ADAM BEHSUDI

HAGERSTOWN - With 16 flags and patriotic bunting adorning the front of his Virginia Avenue home, George Stottlemyer was taking it easy on Flag Day.

"I just put a few of them out," he said Tuesday. "Not all of them."

A bundle of small flags, each one neatly rolled up, sat on a chair next to his front door. Stottlemyer said he didn't put them all out because of work he is doing on the front porch.

In the backyard, a large flag hung lazily near a tree, limp in the hot afternoon sun.

As a veteran, Stottlemyer said he celebrates all patriotic holidays by placing more flags than most people would in front of his house.


Flag Day was conceived in 1885 by Wisconsin school teacher Bernard J. Cigrand, who saw the need to celebrate the birth of the American flag. In 1949, President Truman signed the National Flag Day Bill, making the observance a nationally recognized holiday.

On the green walls of Municipal Stadium, flags lined the bleachers and a large flag provided a backdrop for center field.

"Obviously, Americana and baseball go hand-in-hand," said C.J. Johnson, director of marketing for the Hagerstown Suns.

A total of 12 flags fly permanently over the stadium. Johnson said the grounds crew usually puts up red, white and blue bunting during patriotic holidays.

At City Hall, the council chamber was full of children of all ages as they recognized the day with Mayor Richard F. Trump and Del. John Donoghue, D-Washington.

"We need to learn to love the flag and appreciate the flag," Trump said.

Boy Scouts stood at the front of the room as an honorary color guard. As part of Flag Day festivities, the city government participated in the 23rd annual National Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance.

On Virginia Avenue, Stottlemyer said that fewer and fewer people seemed to be displaying the flag in front of their houses.

"I have probably done more so since Sept. 11," he said.

In the Hagerstown Industrial Park, a large American flag flapped in the breeze. The flag, owned by David Rider, can easily be spotted when driving down Burhans Boulevard.

"We're proud of it," said Ed Keller, who works at Compressed Air, Inc., a business in the building above which the flag flies. Keller described Rider, who owns the building, as a "real patriot."

With only three more weeks until Independence Day, Flag Day is a segue into a time of year where flags are more often seen. In no time, Stottlemyer will be putting his flags back out in the front yard.

"There are a lot of people that put flags out," he said. "But I'm making up for the ones that don't."

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