Leonardtown E.S. Chorus directed by Nicole Beard

Leonardtown, MD — St. Mary’s County held its annual salute to the flag June 14 on the grounds of the Government Center in Leonardtown. The Flag Day ceremony is the community’s was of recognizing the importance and significance of the flag.

The ceremony always features patriotic music and speeches from politicians with a large American flag as the backdrop. This year the flag was hoisted on a Leonardtown Volunteer Fire Department hook and ladder.

St. Mary’s County Commissioner President Randy Guy acted as the master of ceremonies and he introduced those on the stage. Proclamations marking Flag Day were read by Guy for the commissioners, Leonardtown Commissioner Roger Mattingly and Jaymi Sterling on behalf of her father, Gov. Larry Hogan. Guy also read a statement from U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Musical selections were performed by George Washington Carver Elementary Chorus under the direction of Christina Baker and Leonardtown Elementary School Chorus directed by Nicole Beard.

Color Guards for the event were from: American Legion Post 221; Father Andrew White Assembly #377, Knights of Columbus; Great Mills H.S. Navy JROTC; and the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard. The POW/MIA flag was posted by members of ABATE.

Rev. Charles Gallagher of Our Lady of the Wayside Church gave the Invocation and Benediction.

Food was provided by the Seventh District Optimist Club.

St. Mary’s County delegates Matt Morgan and Deb Rey also spoke. Morgan said, “It is good to be with so many patriots who believe the same things I do.”

Rey read a Flag Day speech delivered by the late comedian Red Skelton. Here is the speech first performed on his TV show on January 14, 1969:
“I remember this one teacher. To me, he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time.  He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he walked over.  Mr. Lasswell was his name.  He said; ‘I’ve been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester, and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:
I: me, an individual, a committee of one.
PLEDGE: dedicate all my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
ALLEGIANCE: my love and devotion.
TO THE FLAG: our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom.
Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody’s job.
OF THE UNITED: that means that we have all come together.
STATES: individual communities that have united into 48 great states.
Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that’s love for country.
OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC: a state in which sovereign power is vested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people and it’s from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
ONE NATION: meaning, so blessed by God.
INDIVISIBLE: incapable of being divided.
WITH LIBERTY: which is freedom and the right of power to live one’s own life without threats or fear or some sort of retaliation.
the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
FOR ALL: which means it’s as much your country as it is mine.
“Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: ‘under God.’
Wouldn’t it be a pity if someone said, ‘That is a prayer,’ and that would be eliminated for schools, too?'[1]

“June 14 is annually celebrated in the United States of America as Flag Day. It is a day that we remember and commemorate that adoption of the flag of the United States, which occurred on June 14, 1777, just under a year after declaring Independence from England. The flag represents our country. It serves as a reminder of all who have died so that we may live freely.

“Happy Flag Day!”

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com