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Community Flag Day Program
June 21, 2018

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The Gladbrook American Legion Auxiliary and Jr. Auxiliary hosted a Community Flag Day Program at Westbrook Acres on Flag Day, June 14th. Jrs. Braya Davis and Stella Betts passed out little American flags and patriotic song sheets to all present. Marcia Wiese, pianist, played several patriotic hymns before the program began. Americanism Chairman Lisa Reinhard welcomed everyone to the Flag Day program. The flags were presented by Juniors Justina Eggers and Kayla Vavroch followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and the "Star-Spangled Banner". Lisa program: "Celebrating our flag was suggested by schoolteacher, Bernard Cigrand. I began to wonder which flags were the most recognizable in the world. There are 193 official national flags recognized by the United Nations. Several countries' flags were displayed and residents were asked if they knew which country to which they belonged. The United Kingdom was easily recognized. In addition, 7 other countries use the image of this flag in their country's flag. Germany's flag was identified attesting to the heritage of many in the Gladbrook area. There were some difficult flags shown; Switzerland has the only square flag. Another square flag shown but not recognized by the U.N., was the Flag of Vatican City; Bob Lemke was the only person to identify this flag. Only one country has a flag that is not a rectangle- that is Nepal; its flag is 2 banners joined together symbolizing the Himalayan Mountains. The flag that hold the Guinness World record for the oldest continuously used national flag is Denmark. Its current design was officially adopted in 1307 (or earlier.) The newest country in the world with a national flag is South Sudan; its country is so poor that they don't celebrate its independence choosing instead to use its money to aid its population and build infrastructure. The country has only 313 miles of paved roads and starvation stalks 3 million people in this country. The United States should be proud of its position in the world when you review countries such as this one." All joined in with the singing of "America the Beautiful" Lisa continued: "I was in Philadelphia last fall and visited the Betsy Ross House historical site. Betsy had a tough life and it's good that she receives the recognition for sewing America's first flag. Betsy was a fourth- generation American born in 1752. She was a Quaker but was excommunicated for falling in love and marrying outside of her religion. She married John Ross at the age of 21 and began attending his church- Christ Church in Philadelphia. The couple started an upholstery business but in 1776, John was wounded and later died while serving in the militia. At the age of 24 she was a widow. That same year, she was approached by George Ross (her deceased husband's uncle), George Washington (she sat in the pew next to his at Christ Church) and Robert Morris which led to the sewing of the first flag. A year later, Betsy married a sea captain; on a trip for war supplies he was captured by the British, sent to prison, and died there. Again, she was a widow- at the age of 30. She would later be buried next to this husband, Joseph Ashburn. She married again the following year to John Claypoole. John wished for her to be buried next to him so her body was moved. With the renovations of the Betsy Ross house her body was moved to its courtyard and she now rests there. Betsy had 7 children, was married 3 times, and buried 3 times. It was almost 40 years after her death before she received credit for sewing the first flag." After the playing of "It's a Grand Ole Flag", Juniors Bryleigh & Kenzie Bartell presented a new American flag to Westbrook's Director of Nursing Angie Kopriva. After the retirement of the flags, everyone joined hands and sang "God Bless America". Everyone enjoyed bars and homemade ice cream served by the Unit and Juniors.

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