Flag Day at Fort Vancouver

Crowd gathers to salute enduring symbol of freedom, pick best mayors’ tie

By Tom Vogt, Columbian Science, Military & History Reporter

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A brisk breeze set the red and white stripes billowing Tuesday afternoon, bringing more star-spangled action than usual to Flag Day at Fort Vancouver.

Vancouver’s 22nd annual observance of Flag Day was a chance for community members to gather at the Parade Ground bandstand to celebrate one of the things that brings us together.

It was a chance to learn a few things about one of America’s most iconic symbols: If the early design scheme had continued, our flag now might have 15 stripes — or maybe 50. When Vermont and Kentucky joined the union in 1794, two more stars and two more stripes were added to the original 13. In 1818, we went back to 13 stripes while continuing to add a star for each new state, said Julie Burger, one of the speakers.

And in 1969, the American flag went to the moon, Burger continued. (The U.S. is the only nation to do that.)

The annual Mayors’ Patriotic Tie Contest was a chance to celebrate patriotism through the perspectives of community leaders. Woodland City Councilor Marilee McCall took home the trophy with her red necktie. Her personal touch was the constellation of 10 red and blue stars she’d pinned to the fabric.

“They represent the months my son spent in Iraq,” McCall said.

Anne McEnerny-Ogle, Vancouver’s mayor pro tem, sported a patriotic scarf with a familiar torch-bearing figure.

“She’s Lady Liberty,” the Vancouver city councilor said. “It was designed by a Vancouver student.”

It also had a special touch. Gold thread from Joyo, Vancouver’s sister city in Japan, illuminated the torch.

Washougal Mayor Sean Guard made his pitch with a store-bought tie, but it was a pretty cool store.

“I was at the White House,” Guard recounted. “I was in the gift shop and I found this.”

The event officially is known as Fort Vancouver National Trust Flag Day Celebration presented by Davidson Insurance representing Pemco.

In the week or so before Flag Day, presenting sponsor Davidson & Associates Insurance gave 250 American flags to community members who wanted to exchange their old flags. They have run out of new flags, Bruce Davidson said after Tuesday’s event, but the office will continue accept old flags that will be respectfully retired by Boy Scouts.

The office at 610 Esther St., Suite 101, in downtown Vancouver, will accept flags from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday.