Old Glory rises in Hagerstown's University Plaza during Flag Day ceremony

June 14, 2013|BY HOLLY SHOK |
  • Timmy Kofoet, left, and Dayne Mills, representing Boy Scout Troop 2, raise the American flag Friday at the start of Flag Day observance in University Plaza.
By Kevin G. Gilbert / Staff Photographer

The crowd was silent for the time it took Old Glory to rise up the sky-scraping flagpole Friday in Hagerstown’s University Plaza, where a celebration of Flag Day was held.

Detailing the history of the holiday, which serves to commemorate the adoption of the American flag, city Mayor David S. Gysberts spoke before an assemblage of about 40 people.

“Wherever our American journey has taken us, whether on that unending path to the mountain top or high above into the reaches of space, Old Glory has followed, reminding us of the rights and responsibilities we share as citizens,” Gysberts said, reading a proclamation from President Obama.

Before the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” were sung, causing some in attendance of the ceremony to tear-up, the Marine Corps League Antietam Detachment’s Color Guard and Boy Scout Troop 2 presented the Posting of Colors.

In addition to city officials, representatives for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and U.S. Rep. John Delaney were in attendance as the crowd listened in on the ceremony’s speakers, Rusty Baker, member of AMVETS National Executive Committee, and Fred Shinbur, chairman of the Maryland Veterans Commission.

“Simply put, the flag is how America signs her name,” Shinbur said.

“Today, let’s dedicate ourselves to never taking for granted that this piece of material is delicate, just like the freedom we hold so dearly,” he said.

Baker, who is also vice president of the Joint Veterans Council of Washington County and past commander and present Adjutant of AMVETS Post 10, said he often has presented American flags to the families of fallen soldiers.

“When leaving the ceremony after military honors, I’m often thanked by the family for presenting the American flag to them,” Baker said. “I have never responded ‘You’re welcome,’ never. My response? It’s my honor.”

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