This coming Monday, June 14th, is Flag Day. It’s the day that celebrates the adoption of our flag in the United States. That happened in 1777.

Flag Day is not a federal holiday; so it’s not a day off (when it falls on a weekday); but it’s a day to honor the flag. I gather that it is a state holiday in Pennsylvania.

We’re in that time of year when we seem to have many events that bring our flag to the forefront. From Memorial Day and on through Flag Day and Independence Day and even Pioneer Day in Utah, the flag is prominent. Manti had flags flying on Main Street last weekend during the Rat Fink Reunion event which drew hundreds to Sanpete.

When you stop and think about it, every day of the year is really a “flag day” because we see our stars and stripes flown nearly every day. When we go past the post office, the courthouse, or other government buildings we see our flag.

Many of our Sanpete towns have flags flying at their entrances. There are individuals who fly the flag everyday at their homes. I have a few neighbors who have their own private flagpoles outfitted with spotlights. They have special feelings of patriotism for the flag and what it symbolizes.

I have read the book “Flags of our Fathers” by James Bradley. He is the son of one of the marines in the famous World War II photograph of the raising of the flag on the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. He has researched the lives of each of the “flag raisers” and tells their personal stories and the general story of the war in the Pacific.

I recommend the book. The book was made into a movie by Clint Eastwood. (Rated R for graphic war violence/language, etc.) The book really shows the human side of the involvement of these young men in the war and their commitment to their country and its flag.

There are some good quotes in the book too. I liked this one from General George Patton: “No one ever won a war by dying for their country. They won by making the other s.o.b. die for his.” (He had a way with words, didn’t he?)

Another from Thomas Paine: “Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

I often feel my heart swell as flags go by in the holiday parades of this season. Sanpete is a place where nearly 100% of people know how to pause, remove their hats and salute the flag. Kids are taught by parents and grandparents how to respect the flag. I’m proud of our National Guard units which often provides the color guards for those parades.

I hate that we have to send our young military people around the world to be involved in wars and trouble spots. But at the same time, I’m glad that we have a country that is prepared militarily and has a commitment to serve when called to action. All politics aside, our troops deserve our unwavering support and prayers.

If you know anyone serving in the military away from home, be a letter writer. They may not have time to respond to all their mail, but they’ll appreciate being remembered.

Before leaving home to go back to war, one of the Iwo Jima flag raisers, Mike Strank, urged his eleven-year-old sister Mary to “keep those letters coming. You might not get an answer, but keep ‘em coming”

His family had emigrated from Czechoslovakia and his parents were still awkward with writing in English. After that goodbye, Mary never saw her brother again.

Pay particular attention to our high-flying flags especially during this time year. Sanpete knows how to honor the flag. Let’s keep up the good work.

- — Merrill