Craig One of the most unifying symbols of the United States is a fabric rectangle featuring six white stripes, seven red and 50 white stars on a field of blue. Although Americans see this image on a daily basis, there are some days when the nation’s flag instills an increased sense of patriotism.
The members of Craig Rotary Club will be placing flags along Victory Way and Yampa Avenue on Wednesday as part of their efforts to acknowledge significant American holidays and days of observance, in this instance a tribute to those who perished in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Rotarian Randy Looper said the group first began flag placement for holidays in 2007 and since has put up the displays of Old Glory for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Columbus Day and more.
“It’s a way to show respect, and it just looks really neat for the town,” he said.
Rotary has 152 flags purchased by locals wishing to show their support, with 126 reserved for Victory Way and another 26 for Yampa. The Rotary Club’s hope is to get enough interest and pledges — $75 per flag per year — that they can place flags along Victory Way from one end of Craig to the other, Looper said.
“We’ve been able to increase that almost every year,” he said.
The project is Rotary’s main fundraiser, but raising the flag for major American dates is its own reward, Looper said, especially for a day like 9/11.
“It helps people remember the people who died and what happened there,” he said. “It’s the same for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. It’s just all tied into remembering why we’re a country and why we have the flag and why it deserves respect.”
Guy Bradshaw, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, said he appreciates the work of the Rotarians in acknowledging the anniversary of Sept. 11. Bradshaw was enlisted in the Army at the time when the infamous attacks occurred.
“It reminds us of our vulnerabilities and how we have to maintain diligence and alertness even on our own soil,” he said. “Most important to me as a veteran, it reminds you of every wounded and fallen veteran that we’ve had. It’s the first time we’ve really went to war since Vietnam with all our blood and resources committed to winning it, and to me, it’s a way to honor all our current men and women serving in the armed forces.”
Bradshaw was stationed at Fort Irwin National Training Center that fateful day.
“It’s one of many in my military career that I will not soon forget,” he said.
A short attention span is an issue Bradshaw hopes will be remedied by actions like flag placement or greater acts of tribute 12 years after the fact. Still, the key is to make sacrifices mean something rather than purely getting bogged down in ceremony.
“It’s good to remember, but part of honoring fallen veterans and civilians is to remember without dwelling on it too much,” he said.
Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.