WV Post 187 of the American Legion
WV Post 187
James E. Marshall WV Post 187 of the American Legion parades historical flags of the nation. Left to right are Kenny Bright {holding the present flag of the United States), Clem Pemberton (the West Virginia flag of 35 stars). Curtis Grant (the Star-Spangled Banner of 1814), Danny Johnson (the Betsy Ross flag), Bob Allen (the Grand Union flag), Arnie Harrison {Queen Anne flag), and Dan Chandler.
Clem Pemberton
Clem Pemberton posts the flag of 35 stars -- the "West Virginia flag."

Dan Chandler

CCMSgt. Dan Chandler

'You're a Grand Old Flag . . .'

July 10, 2012

Rotarians today learned the history of the flag from a special color guard from the American Legion's James E. Marshall Post 187 of Winfield and narrator MSgt. Dan Chandler.

"The flag has always been a symbol of loyalty and pride," Chandler said. "When we see the flag, we see the nation itself."

As Chandler reviewed the story of the flag, the Winfield veterans displayed some of the flags flying over American soil since colonial days.

Arnie Harrison posted the Queen Anne flag, the British red ensign which served from 1707 to the Revolution. The blue union in the upper left corner displayed the crosses of the British Union Jack, the cross of St. George for England and St. Andrew's cross for Scotland.

In the early days of the American Revolution, the red field of the Queen Anne flag was divided into seven red and six white stripes representing the thirteen American colonies. This was the Grand Union flag brought forward by Bob Allen. The Grand Union flew over Washington's headquarters near Boston.

Danny Johnson carried the Betsy Ross flag which replaced the British Union Jack with a circle of thirteen stars -- "a new constellation" -- on a field of blue. "This was the first official flag," Chandler said. "It was adopted by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777, which date has since been ccelebrated as American flag day."

Curtis Grant posted the Star Spangled Banner, the flag which flew over Baltimore's Ft. McHenry in 1814. This was the flag which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words of the national anthem.

"The Ft. McHenry flag has fifteen stars and fifteen stripes," Chandler told the group, for the new states of Vermont and Kentucky. "On April 4, 1818, Congress restored the original thirteen stripes," when five more states joined the Union.

Post Commander Clem Pemberton displayed the West Virginia flag of 35 stars. This flag was replaced by a flag of 36 stars in 1865 when Nevada became a state.

Rotarians stood to attention as Kenny Bright posted the present "Old Glory" flag of fifty stars.

The flag is more than a design, said Chandler in a closing tribute. "Old Glory represents a refuge for the world's oppressed peoples, the silent sentinel of freedom."

I am the emblem of the greatest sovereign nation on earth.
I led your sons into battle from Valley Forge to the bloody ridges of Vietnam, the sands of Kuwait and the hills of Afganistan.
I walk in silence with each of the honored dead to their final resting place beneath the silent white crosses row upon row.
I have flown through peace and war, through strife and prosperity.

My red stripes represent the blood spilled in defense of this glorious nation.
My white stripes represent the burning tears shed by Americans who have lost their sons and daughters.
My blue field is indicative of God's heaven under which I fly.
My stars clustered together signify fifty states unified as one for God and Country.

The Winfield chapter of the American Legion, the James E. Marshall Post 187, continues to celebrate national traditions and to remind Putnam people of the price paid for the American way of life.

Post 187 provides an honor guard for funerals of veterans in the area, and its flag history program is offered for schools, cchurches and civic groups.

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