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Flag Day: Honoring the Red, White, and Blue

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Astros' Opening Day

Astros fans take a moment to honor the American flag before the excitement of Opening Day. (Photo courtesy of the Houston Astros)

Astros, Rockets, Dynamos, Texans, Cougars, Owls, and Little League games; kindergarten and college classrooms; city halls, fire stations; neighbors’ houses; office buildings; military uniforms . . . these are just a few places that American flags wave all year long.

Did you know that June 14 is Flag Day? It’s a day for all Americans to celebrate and honor our country’s flag, the red, the white, and the blue, one of the most recognizable symbols of any country in the world.

June 14, 1777, is the day the Continental Congress approved the design of America’s first official national flag adorned with 13 small, white, five-pointed stars on a field of blue and 13 red and white stripes – one for each of the 13 colonies. There have been 27 different designs, many a result of the number of stars increasing when a new state entered the Union. The last update was in 1960 when Hawaii became a state and a 50th star was added. 

On June 14, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson called for nationwide observance of Flag Day. Then on June 14, 1949, Flag Day became an official holiday under President Harry Truman. 

In honor of the American flag, put your hand over your heart, feel your chest fill with pride, and prepare for a possible lump in your throat while admiring our flag and all for which it stands. Then smile as we look at the special ways the Star-Spangled banner is honored throughout our communities. 

Houston National Cemetery

Flags placed on 11,000 graves by thousands of volunteers on Memorial Day at Houston National Cemetery. 

Each morning at the Houston National Cemetery, the American flag is lowered to half-staff. Houston National Cemetery Administrative Officer, Jose Henriquez, shared, “Lowering the flag is done at all National Cemeteries across our great Country as a sign of paying tribute to our fallen Veterans and their loved ones.”

Every year on the Saturday preceding Memorial Day, thousands of volunteers place flags upon every Houston National Cemetery gravesite – over 110,000 in all. Flags for Fallen Vets coordinates registration of individual and group volunteers for the project. 

Jose added, “I’d like to highlight that each day presents one with the opportunity to place flags upon any site within the Houston National Cemetery.” All are welcome to visit the cemetery to pay their respects any day of the year.

Bellaire Rotary

“Flags over Bellaire” is sponsored by the Bellaire/Southwest Houston Rotary Club and is managed through volunteer efforts who place large American flags in the yards of residences and businesses.

Thanks to local rotary clubs, residents of West University and Bellaire are fortunate to have American flags lining the streets of their neighborhoods on Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Veterans Day.

On those special patriotic holidays, the West University Rotary Club flag program places about 1700 United States and Texas flags in the front lawns of West U residents. Neighbors can subscribe for flags on the West U Rotary website.

Ned Graber, a member of West U Rotary, shared, “Rotary Clubs throughout the country use flag subscription programs to raise money for their health, humanitarian, and youth service programs. The flag proceeds [from West U Rotary’s program] support Second Servings, Challenger Baseball, and The Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston.”

“Flags over Bellaire” is sponsored by the Bellaire Southwest Houston Rotary Club and is managed through volunteers who place large American flags in the yards of residences and businesses. Funds raised assist local scholarships, Bellaire parks, The Shop With A Cop Holiday Program, and Bellaire FFA. Subscribe here. 

Carter Going, Aditya Mandke, Jacques Gillespie

Rainmakers Boy Scout Troop 642 members Carter Going, Aditya Mandke, and Jacques Gillespie (from left) position an American flag in front of their Scout House. The Troop is chartered by Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church.

Chartered by Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, The Rainmakers of Boy Scout Troop 642 coordinate a limited flag program in various Memorial neighborhoods. Funds support the troop’s summer camp to ensure all Scouts can participate. Flag sign-ups will open again in 2023. 

Troop member Jacques Gillespie remarked, “The flag symbolizes our freedom, and I am proud our troop puts flags in our neighborhood.”

Flag master John Gillespie shared the Boys Scouts of America’s words: “Our flag represents us all, regardless of our background or our religion or our personal beliefs. It’s the symbol we all share and the symbol we all should respect.”

The symbolism of the American flag has been a source of hope and bonded the United States together as a country, especially in times of great celebration or crisis. The same flag that flew over Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, later being flown over the White House on August 14, 1945, when the Japanese surrendered after World War II; astronaut Neil Armstrong planting the American flag on the moon’s rocky surface during the first moon landing on July 29, 1969; on September 11, 2001, three New York City firefighters standing on the rubble of ground zero raising an American flag that survived the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

When you see an American flag on June 14, take a moment to reflect on ways the flag has been a sense of pride and inspiration to you. Then the next 364 days, do the same. Because when you really think about it, shouldn’t every day be Flag Day?

Flag Day Events and Activities: 

The Lone Star Museum
Celebrate Old Glory with family activities and giveaways including free American flags to museum visitors today, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., while supplies last.

Children’s Activities
Find special family crafts and activities to celebrate Flag Day here.  

Flag Retirement

Flag depository at LSFM

The Lone Star Museum has a flag depository thanks to Boy Scout Jacob Alford who designed it for his Eagle Scout project and then donated it to the museum.

When American flags become worn, tattered, and no longer fitting to display, they should be retired in a dignified way. An official flag location that accepts worn flags is The Lone Star Flight Museum. Boy Scout Jacob Alford designed a flag depository box for his Eagle Scout project and donated it to the museum. Any day during museum hours, the public can drop off worn flags for proper disposal. (Read more about it here.)

Another location to drop off flags is Kronberg's Flags, which has been operating in Bellaire for over 50 years.

A Gift for that Special Patriotic Person in your Life? 
The public can purchase American flags that have flown over the United States Capitol. Requests are made through the offices of Members of Congress. 

  • West University Rotary's American flags

    West University Rotary's American flags line the streets of West U during the Houston Marathon. 

  • American flag

    Old Glory flying high in the sky. The colors of the flag are symbolic - red represents hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

  • Space Center Houston

    An out-of-this-world display at Space Center Houston with an American flag looking over the Astronauts on the moon. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)

  • WUES flag

    West U Elementary students and staff worked together one year to create an impressive human flag. 

  • West University Rotary's American flags
  • American flag
  • Space Center Houston
  • WUES flag

West University Rotary's American flags

West University Rotary's American flags line the streets of West U during the Houston Marathon. 

American flag

Old Glory flying high in the sky. The colors of the flag are symbolic - red represents hardiness and valor, white symbolizes purity and innocence, and blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

Space Center Houston

An out-of-this-world display at Space Center Houston with an American flag looking over the Astronauts on the moon. (Photo courtesy of Space Center Houston)

WUES flag

West U Elementary students and staff worked together one year to create an impressive human flag. 

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