Today is June 14th. Flag Day. I remember it's Flag Day because this also happens to be my wedding anniversary.
We own a couple of pretty interesting American flags. One was sewn by Betsy Ross's granddaughter. Another is a cloth flag that was used by New York's 71st volunteer infantry as a recruiting tool just after the War Between the States.
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A few years back I asked for and received a U.S flag that flew over the Iwo Jima memorial. My father-in-law served two tours in the Pacific with the Marines in World War II. He used to joke that if Joe Rosenthal's famous picture of Marines planting the flag on Mount Surabachi had been just a little bit wider maybe then he'd have been in the picture too. Sgt. Ralph Kuslits earned that flag from the memorial and my in-laws have it framed and displayed beautifully with a certificate of authenticity.
I remember as a kid we learned the proper way to fold a flag. It was our responsibility if we were on safety patrol to raise the flag before school began and take it down in the afternoon. It always required two students because we would never let the flag touch the ground.
My mother always flew a flag on our front porch. It was one of the ways I could tell people which house we lived in -- the big one in the middle of the block with a flag out front. After 9/11 I was frantically driving across the country to get home to my family in New York. I stopped in Chicago to check on my mom. Like always, her flag was up and in the days to come lots of her neighbors put one up too.
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By Harry Smith