Climax celebrates Flag Day

Published 7:21 pm Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The old U.S. flag is retired and folded correctly by members of the Bainbridge High School JROTC.

On the bright beautiful cool morning of Saturday, June 16, in Climax, Mayor Charles Hadsock welcomed a nice crowd to the city’s 24th annual Flag Day celebration, held at Parker Park in the center of town.

“The American Flag is the most recognizable symbol of freedom in the world today and it stands foremost for the principals of a democratic society, justice, honor, truth, liberty, equality, and freedom of choice,” Hadsock said. “The stars and stripes define everything we are as Americans.”

Hadsock went on to introduce Sgt. Major Retired Lester Hayes, who gave the invocation. Hayes preceded the invocation with a rhyming song that was at one time part of his drill sergeant activities, when the men marched by Old Glory waving on camp at Fort Benning.
“The army colors, the colors are red to show the world the blood we shed,” Hayes said. “The army colors, the colors are white; to show the world we are fit to fight. The army colors, the colors are blue to show the world that we are true.”

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Hayes said he would share the rest of the song next year.

Hadsock recognized all dignitaries, and new flags were presented as follows:

• City of Climax — U. S. flag, by Woodmen of the World;

• City of Climax — Georgia flag, by the Climax Golden Agers;

• Parker Park — U.S. flag, by Woodmen of the World;

• Parker Park — Georgia flag, by Climax Community Club;

• Climax Community Club — U.S. flag, by Woodmen of the World;

• Climax Volunteer Fire Department — U.S. flag, by Woodmen of the World;

• Cedar Grove Cemetery flags, by Woodmen of the World.

After the presentation of the new flags, Sandra Thomas recognized all veterans who were deceased, as members of the audience called their loved ones’ names. Then, as something new this year, each veteran present was asked to stand as each branch of their military songs was played through. Thomas thanked all the veterans for their service and for protecting the nation’s flag and freedoms.

With the audience standing, and in an impressive ceremony, the BHS Jr. ROTC, under the leadership of Sr. Master Sgt. Frank Geslak, retired the old flags at Parker Park and raised the new ones. After Bob Thomas led the pledge to the flag, Cheryl Carvajal sang the national anthem.

Guest speaker and new county interim administrator and retired colonel, Gary Breedlove, thanked Climax for giving him the opportunity to speak about the American flag. He also thanked Hayes for the invocation and for his service to the country.
Breedlove also recognized Dean Free for his service to the country and at the Pentagon. He also took a few moments to remember the late Doyce Ariail, who was very much involved with Climax and Flag Day. Finally, Breedlove thanked all veterans for their service.

He commended Climax for recognizing Flag Day and for celebrating by replacing the older flags. He said many have their flags displayed, but sometimes forget the condition of the flag as it becomes torn and tattered.

He noted that June 14, 1777, was the date that Congress adopted the “Stars and Stripes” as the flag of the United States, and reminded everyone in the audience that the national anthem was penned down during the War of 1812. He also said that the flag we currently have has changed 26 times since 1777, with different versions of the stars and stripes as new states were added. The present version, established in 1960 after the addition of Alaska and Hawaii as states, has been the longest standing version.

Breedlove said one of the most recognizable symbols in the world is Coca-Cola. But he noted that the most recognizable symbol in the world is the American flag, giving many a tyrant a cause to think before attacking when they see the flag. Our flag is a symbol freedom for millions and millions of people around the world today, he said.

Talking to the children, Breedlove gave the proper way of displaying the flag, with the field of blue and the stars always being displayed on the top left side. He told the audience to encourage everyone to use the proper protocol when displaying the American flag.

Sam Sirmons led the audience in singing of “America the Beautiful.” Liz Phillips gave closing remarks with thanks to everyone who attended, making another Flag Day celebration in Climax a success. She also said Flag Day was also a time to honor the veterans, those still serving and those who have served; she encouraged all to thank a veteran or the family of veteran when the opportunity arose.

Light refreshments were served after the ceremony.

Reporter’s note: A special thank you to Dean Free for his assistance in taking the pictures, and to Sam Sirmons for technical assistance in recording.