By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
“Stars and Stripes.”
“Red, White and Blue.”
By whatever name the American flag is called, those who love it say it is a symbol of the freedoms they have in the United States and a reminder of the sacrifices made to preserve those liberties.
Tears well up in their eyes, and they get lumps in their throats making it difficult to put into words what the flag means to them and the images it evokes in their minds.
Monday is National Flag Day, established by Congress in 1949 to commemorate the adoption of the U.S. flag.
Perhaps the best-known image involving the U.S. flag is its raising by five Marines and a Navy corpsman on Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific Theatre in World War II. Three of the men in Joe Rosenthal’s Pulitzer prize-winning photo were killed in the battle.
When Karyn Frederick looks at the flag she thinks of her father, Atty. Harry Frederick, who served in the Navy during World War II in the South Pacific.
Frederick, executive director of the Mahoning County Medical Society, flies the American flag all year near a light by the garage at her Canfield home.
Harry Frederick, 17 when he joined the Navy, was a member of the American Legion and was part of the color guard that marched in holiday parades.
“We were aware of the flag growing up because dad was a veteran, and he loved it so much and taught us love of country and flag,” Karyn said. “I was brought up to believe that you can be nothing greater than a patriot, and to serve our country is the greatest honor.
“I think that is so lost today. I’m so sad that the flag doesn’t have the same effect on people ... that they don’t have the same reverence for flag and country. We don’t pay enough attention to the people who serve.”
There is nothing prettier than driving past Canfield East Cemetery when the flags decorate the veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. “It’s so beautiful,” she said.
William “Bill” Lusk, who served in the Army from 1966 to 1968, including a tour in Korea, said he is amazed that people don’t take their hats off when the American flag passes by in a parade.
“But, if kids aren’t taught, how are they going to know, said Lusk, warehouse manager for Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.
Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com, along with information on the proper handling of the American flag.