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    Flag Day ceremonies planned in Newport Beach and Dana Point
    • June 13, 2024

    While many people pull out their flags for the Fourth of July holiday, June 14 is actually the day to officially honor Old Glory, the nation’s most enduring symbol.

    And, two coastal South Orange County towns are making sure people know about the national recognition with massive flag displays.

    The Newport Beach Civic Center has been covered in at least 249 flags, said Mayor Will O’Neill, “maybe even a few more.” The display was put up by volunteers from the city and the Newport Harbor Exchange Club.

    The number of flags is also a nod to the U.S. Army, which celebrates its 249th birthday on Friday. The Army was established on June 14, 1775, in Philadelphia, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence.

    “There’s so much negativity in the world, celebrating Flag Day and what it stands for is a simple way to celebrate and bring people together,” O’Neill said.

    Also read: Anaheim celebrates the red, white and blue ahead of Flag Day

    In Dana Point, 249 flags are also displayed at Baby Beach in the Dana Point Harbor. The idea for the display came from Fifth District OC Supervisor Katrina Foley, who also encouraged Dana Point boaters to raise flags on their vessels on Friday.

    “Flag Day offers an opportunity to celebrate our nation’s greatest symbol of freedom and our history,” Foley said in a statement. “The white stripes on our flag represent purity and innocence; the red, hardiness and valor; and the blue field represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. With the Army’s birthday falling on the same date, we also recognize our Army service members and their commitment to protecting our freedoms and the values our flag represents.”

    Flag Day was started by a Wisconsin school teacher in 1877. The date was exactly 100 years after the Flag Resolution of 1777, when the Continental Congress decided how the nation’s banner would look: “That the flag of the 13 united states be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.”

    President Woodrow Wilson issued a 1916 proclamation declaring June 14 as Flag Day, and in 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed the formal observance into law. After another congressional dictum in 1966, it fell during Flag Week.

    In Newport Beach, a ceremony is planned for 1 p.m. and will include flag etiquette and a presentation of colors by the American Legion Post 291 Color Guard. Boy Scouts will also demonstrate flag folding.

    In Dana Point, a ceremony will include remarks from Dolores Padgett of the Dana Point VFW 9934 and an honor guard led by Rick Jauregui, commander of the Dana Point VFW 9934. Starting at 6 p.m., the ceremony will conclude with Foley slicing a U.S. Army birthday cake with a saber.

    For Capt. Angelo Matz, commander of the Army’s Anaheim Recruiting Company, the national holiday and the service branch’s birthday bring back memories of his own experiences as a boy in Port Jervis, New York, he said.

    “When I was 10 or 11, my grandfather, Art, helped me earn a merit badge with the Boy Scouts by showing me the correct flag-handling etiquette,” Matz said. “Folding, storage, and respect for that symbol of freedom throughout the world must have stuck with me because to this day – I think about that day with my grandfather during the ceremonies. He was drafted in World War II and went on to serve in the Navy as an ensign.”

    The Army’s local birthday celebration continues next week when Matz’s unit participates in a Change of Command ceremony planned for June 20 at Dana Point’s Lantern Bay Park.

    Lt. Col. Matthew Upperman will be replaced by Lt. Col. Edgardo Alvarez as the commander of the U.S. Army Southern California Recruiting Battalion.

    O’Neill and Foley both said they are hoping for a good turnout at the Flag Day ceremonies.

    “Remembering our nation and those who served it will always be worth the effort,” O’Neill said. “Grounding ourselves in our nation’s traditions matter.”

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    ​ Orange County Register