In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day. The holiday has been dubbed the ‘runty step-child of American National Holidays’ by the New York Times for its frequently forgotten nature, and the origins of the holiday are not well known amongst the public.
However, small communities are known for keeping forgotten things intact. On Tuesday, June 14, Lake Park of Madison held their Flag Day celebration. There, present veterans were honored with a public reading of President Barack Obama’s 2016 Flag Day proclamation. This ceremony also honorably retired the worn flag that had flown over Lake Park of Madison for many years.
“Two hundred and forty years ago, a small band of patriots declared independence, proclaiming in one voice that we are free to determine our own destiny and carry out the work of self-governance,” said County Commissioner Ronnie Moore while quoting from the first line of the Presidential Proclamation.
Honoring those who have since protected that independence, that free-destiny and self-governance, officers from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, City of Madison Police Department and firefighters from Madison Fire Rescue stood at attention while Lake Park of Madison veterans walked, or were assisted by attendants, as they filed through in a parade.
Commissioner Moore opened the event with the reading of the Presidential Proclamation. Ulysses Roberson, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post #251 presented a history of the American Flag and the meaning of the stars and stripes that set the flag apart from all others.
Roberson also recognized the veterans, saluting them before the key speaker for the event, John Nelson, Sr., a former chairman of the Jefferson County Commission and a member of the VFW Post #251, was presented.
Nelson spoke briefly before calling forth members of the VFW in preparation to place the new flag on the pole in front of Lake Park of Madison.
VFW members lowered the old flag, which had seen much weather and use, and as the new flag was raised, Jay Hicks, local musician and music teacher at Madison Academy, played “Reveille.”
Following the flag raising, Terrance Bonner led the audience in singing the national anthem. Before the event closed, the participants were invited to enjoy cool lemonade and delicious appetizers that were offered by Lake Park of Madison.