Putting the flags out on Main Street for Memorial day 2020 was a little different this year (A photo essay)
This one will be in the history books, and as in most towns it will be a different experience.
Good evening all, I hope you are going to try to enjoy this Memorial day weekend the best you can. Remember to stay safe and exercise caution at all times.
This story would not be possible without the help that I received from Dr. Chad Finer. I asked him if he could take the photos for this story as I could not. He met us at the American Legion and took some photos and then accompanied us to Main Street where he took a few more. I took a few after he left. Thank You Chad for always being there for support.
The Flags are lined up and ready to be loaded
The American Legion Post # 8 has taking the responsibility for placing the flags on Main Street for specific holidays. Over the years, several veterans have assisted or should I say were assigned to this task. This story/photo essay is a changing of the guard if you will.
First though, I must provide a little history as I know it. Earl Thompson, whom some of you might remember was the task provider/master when it came to flags for Main Street and the cemeteries, and just about anything else to do with the American Legion. What you may not know is that Earl Thompson spearheaded the effort to have Norwich individuals and businesses sponsor the flags on Main Street. Stop in the Town hall sometime (when they reopen of course) and you will find this plaque on the wall just outside the Town Managers office.
Names of all those who sponsored and donated to this cause
Here is a photo of Earl looking proud as ever. (Earl passed on February 17,2015).
Commander Jim Harlow could always count on his flag crew. The flags for the cemeteries were assigned to all the veterans in the post who would receive the flags and a map if need be at the meeting prior to a holiday and would tackle their assigned spot. Sometimes it was done a section at a time and other times it was an invasion of American Legion veterans sent out en mass.
I was assigned to work with Earl on placing the flags on Main Street and did that with him for about 18 years. After his retirement from flag duty, I continued to put them up and was assigned a new recruit as he had the right size vehicle.
Jay Van Arman was no recruit however in that this veteran simply was transferred from the cemetery flag detail to the Main Street flag detail, and in our spare time we both still assisted the other veterans with the cemetery flags. Jay also assisted Earl when I could not be there. Now fast forward to 2019, and Jay decided to retire, and I started to sweat bullets as I was about to loose another partner. You see, We had it down to a science with all flags up and waving in around 35 minutes.
Now right around this time Jay’s daughter and son in law decided to move to Norwich. Emily and Ethan served proudly in the US Air Force and her husband Ethan retired with 20 years of service and was an F-16 fighter pilot. They both joined our legion as members, actually Emily had been a member for a long time but was away on active duty and then relocated in support of her husbands assignments. I thought it was almost time for me to retire as well, as my legs are not as rubbery as they once were. I approached Emily last fall and asked if she and Ethan may want to take over the Main street flag detail.
She graciously accepted the assignment, asking for occasional help when Ethan may be away on duty. You see, Ethan now flies FEDEX planes. I assured her there would be volunteers to assist and ole rubber legs may still jump up on the tail gate here and there. I know this was supposed to be a photo essay, but history is important in any story, so now I leave you to enjoy the photos and the rest of the story. Jay was not able to be with us for this flag session 101, but don’t be surprised if you don’t see him driving the truck for Emily or Ethan, on one of their flag posting missions. After all it is his truck still I believe. You might actually see me once in a while as well.
Oh! by the way Jay, Emily and I did the flags in only 31 minutes.
Emily Pierce Myers hands me the flags to be loaded.
I can’t smile with my mask on
Looks like we are ready to roll
A little flag posting “101” is about to happen here and now
This would make an excellent Chevrolet commercial (remember the slogan “See the USA in a Chevrolet” ?
Place flag in, give two taps on the roof of the car and you are ready to go to the next flagpole.
Success at last at least for this location
Sometimes you may not be able to get the truck in close enough because of a parked car so you have to use a ladder and all safety precautions that go with that.
Timing is key and driver has to have a steady foot on the brake and easy on the gas.
Heading back towards Union Village with a flag just placed at the Town Hall pole.
I took this photo after parking the vehicle safely with the 4 way flashers on.
And sometimes you have to use an additional fastener or make adjustments
Happy Memorial day all and please take a moment to thank a veteran when you see them out and about.
My Logo and thanks for your patience and support