Flag Day, June 14, falls on a Tuesday this year and hopefully we’ll all be displaying our Stars & Stripes to celebrate the day in 1777 that the 3rd Continental Congress officially adopted it as our national flag. Since then there’ve been 27 official versions as new states were admitted to the Union, with the most recent design adopted in 1960 when Hawaii was admitted as the 50th state—and star. Just in case Alex Trebek asks, Flag Day was proclaimed a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916.
Trivia about the upcoming holiday reminded us of a happy experience last week. After browsing the shade plants at Pa’s Produce, a helpful sales clerk offered to carry my flat of Hostas and ferns to the car. When I opened the rear door and indicated she could put them on the seat, she hesitated, noticing a neatly folded American flag there. Being young and agile, she was able to balance the flat on one hip and slide the flag across the seat, remarking “Wouldn’t want to put it on top of the flag.” As we finished loading my stuff, I explained that it was a tattered flag that Larry had replaced on Memorial Day, and that he knew how to properly fold it, unlike the one in the trunk, stuffed into a reusable shopping bag since before Christmas. It was a 3-flag winter out here on our little windy knoll, but I keep forgetting to drive past the old creamery in Mechanicsburg where the American Legion has a drop-box for old flags. At this, the young lady informed me that the Boy Scouts also ceremonially dispose of old flags. Being at a stage of life where I no longer worry about political correctness or gender awareness (or any other sort of awareness, actually), I remarked that she didn’t look like a Boy Scout to me. Now this is where I learned my first new thing that day: there’s an adjunct of Scouting called “Venturing,” where girls participate in all sorts of scout-type stuff, and this young person is a member. She offered to take both our tattered flags to the next ceremony and see that they were properly disposed of! After I thanked her for taking a load of guilt off my mind, I realized I’d learned another good lesson: there are kids who are helpful, polite, unselfish, and respectful: of the older generation, and of our Grand Old Flag, too!