JARED BARTON THE COLUMBUS TELEGRAM
Summer marks the celebration of freedom in the United States, but you don’t have to wait until July. June has its own Remembrance Day – Flag Day.
Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States in 1777 and has been used over the years to commemorate the lives of those who served under that flag for their country.
On June 14, at the Prairie Village Retreat Center, Flag Day commemorated the adoption of a specific American flag: the one that stands proudly in the center of their parking lot.
The new flag, according to activity director Nancy Koch, replaces the one that was removed during recent renovations.
“With our renovation, we decided to remove the old flag pole and put in a new one and I thought what a perfect day, Flag Day, to put a new one in,” Koch said.
The previous flag was serviceable, but due to its position relative to the building and porch, it was difficult for many residents to see, prompting its replacement.
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“We have a lot of porch parties and we thought it was important that it was somewhere they could all see it,” Koch said.
Koch said Flag Day is especially important to Prairie Village because many residents are veterans themselves.
“We have a lot of veterans who are residents and a lot of veteran families as well, spouses and siblings, etc.,” Koch said. “For countless reasons, we unfurled this flag for them.”
Michael Landkamer, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Nebraska Legion Department, Post Adjutant in Columbus and Vice National Commander of the American Legion from 2008 to 2009, hoisted the actual flag, accompanied by a bugle rendition of “To the Colours”.
“It means a lot,” Landkamer said. “It’s a day we honor the flag. We honor it every day, but today is a special day.”
The American Legion Choir performed several patriotic numbers, including “My Country ’tis of Thee”, “This Land is Your Land”, and the national anthem.
Landkamer said the legion organizes these kinds of events whenever called upon because they honor those who have served.
“Very patriotic, it means a lot to them, not just the veterans, but the residents and the American people. It shows a love and respect for our flag, which we should feel,” Landkamer said.
The color guard brought flags for Persons of War Missing in Action (POW-MIA), United States, American Legion, Army, Navy, Navy, Coast Guard and Army air.
“All armed services are represented, we are doing this to honor all of these people,” Landkamer said.
Landkamer served in the Navy for seven years around the Vietnam War. He joined the Legion at age 28 and was a member of the honor guard for 43 of the 44 years he was with it.
“I always wanted to join the legion, just because of what they do for veterans,” Landkamer said. “The American Legion was founded on four pillars of service: child welfare, national security, veterans affairs and rehabilitation, and Americanism.”
Prairie Village resident Marvin Mueller wore his “Korean Veteran” hat to the event. Mueller served in the military, not only in Korea, but also in the Nebraska National Guard.
Flag day for Mueller meant something simple.
“We fought for this,” Mueller said.