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Flag saluted, revered at Hagerstown ceremony

June 12, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- The American flag was described in many ways Friday.

Children wave it in processions. It brings tears to the eyes of athletes. In war, it reminds soldiers why they fight, and for what. At funerals, it is the last tribute to veterans.

While speakers talked about what the flag meant, an AMVETS Post 10 color/honor guard and Boy Scout Troop 2 held the American flag aloft for Friday afternoon's Flag Day ceremony at University Plaza on West Washington Street.

"Our flag is saluted by soldiers and revered by citizens," said Fred Shinbur, chairman of the Maryland Veterans Commission.

Flag Day, which is Saturday, celebrates the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the stars and stripes as the new nation's official flag, Shinbur said.

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Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II spoke briefly during Friday's ceremony.

Boy Scout Troop 2 participated, and will participate in other flag ceremonies this summer because it's good for the community and good for the nation, Scoutmaster Bob Mumma said.

Michael Smith, 14, and Quinn Hoover, 14, said preparing for flag ceremonies has taught them how to hold the flag and the order in which flags appear.

The Scouts presented the American flag, as well as the state flag of Maryland, Prisoner of War flag, Hagerstown flag and Washington County flag, Mumma said.

"It respects our country," Michael said. "It's a good thing to do."

Abigail Nigh, 9, granddaughter of former Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny Nigh, performed "God Bless America" during the ceremony.

Abigail's grandfather, Bob Nigh, is a U.S. Army veteran, he said. His father also was a veteran.

"He was adamant about the country, the flag," Bob Nigh said. He was happy to see Abigail perform for the second year.

"It's very patriotic," he said.

Colleen Smith of Hagerstown was glad her son, Michael, was participating with the Boy Scouts.

"I think it's important to show your patriotism, support our country," she said.

Shinbur explained the need for a day dedicated to honoring the flag.

"Simply put, the flag represents us," Shinbur said. "We owe it to our children, born and yet to be born, to continue to fly it high and proud ... It represents all that is best about our country."

Friday's ceremony will be broadcast today at noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Antietam Cable Channel 6.

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