This Flag Day, four members of American Legion Post 488 are marking 10 years of championing a cause to educate the community about the U.S. flag and flag etiquette.
Jack Collins, Marty Currid, Kurt Haug and Oscar Giusto continue to quietly maintain many U.S. flag stations in parts of the greater Monroe community, including overpasses along highways in the vicinity.
“Our flag is the symbol of our country,” said Collins. “Almost at every time I hear our National Anthem and see our flag, a tear comes to my eye. When I see those disrespecting our flag, I feel a knife though my heart.”
Collins said there’s one reason why the foursome does the volunteer work they do: Americanism.
“It’s just one way we can show people more about Americanism,” he said. “Our public displays of the flag awareness and respect can only help our message. Our country is going through some very rough times. Americanism, not taught in our schools as it once was, is something we wish to preserve and protect. America, a melting pot, can pull this off. As veterans, we all know diversification, in some ways, better than those who have not served. Our military is a very diversely made up organization. It’s made mostly from patriots who want to give back to our country for the plenty they have enjoyed .”
The foursome have presented programs at the Monroe Free Library as well as other locales and spent countless hours with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts over the last 10 years. They’re prepared to do more.
“We participate in Pearl Harbor Remembrance ceremonies at the Hudson River each year,” said Collins. “We need to keep alive the evils of the past, so we cannot repeat them in the future. We place a flag at each veteran’s grave site at the Monroe Cemetery each Memorial Day and each Veterans Day every year. We have had help from both Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops over the years.”
The group hopes more people will become aware of the importance of the U.S. flag beyond Flag Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
“I believe that flying the American flag is an awesome responsibility,” said Collins. “Federal law requires certain flag etiquette and standards, such as flying it at half-staff at times. On very special days, Patriot Day/Sept. 11, Pearl Harbor Day, Peace Officer Memorial Day/May 15, and until noon on Memorial Day, our flag should be at half-staff. My feeling is that businesses, governments, and individuals who fly the flag and don’t want to meet these few requirements, I would rather they not fly the flag.”
They hope making sure the flag flies over Route 17overpasses and other areas serve as one way they can keep the flag alive in people’s minds.
But he noted the group has a greater reason as well.
“America is not a perfect country,” Collins said. “Those tearing it down should move to the ‘perfect’ country. There isn’t one. We are all human. America has existed since 1776. Many countries can’t claim the same form of government for 245 years. Our country is the greatest in the world. No other country has done what we have done and for as long as we have done it. If we don’t know our history, we are bound to repeat it.”
Any group, business or organization which would like the foursome to present a program should contact them by calling Post 488 at 783-3965.