You may remember USECC had the flag from Ground Zero and scheduled a number of events in honor of the flag and those it represented from the attack on the World Trade Center (see Follow the Flag 2009)
This year we carried the same great idea to a different level. On major prolonged catastrophic incidents such as Hurricane Katrina and others, USECC has also served either with or under military oversight. It has long been our desire to honor our vets in some way and this is the time. With the years rapidly passing on our senior veterans it was our decision the spotlight those of WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.
I am honored in the highest way to announce that our feature flag will be from the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The weekend of August 19-22 is shaping up to be an incredible tribute to these and all veterans.
Opportunities for more events are being offered to us even as of this writing. Our kick off dinner will be Friday August 20th at the Lutheran School Association’s gorgeous facility with the history department giving the historic background of all three wars. The school’s music department will play a melody of patriotic music and the themes of all five branches of the military. Chaplain Steve will give the keynote address and include our Godly heritage of this nation. Current Gulf vets and First Responders will serve as greeters and assist our senior vets with wheel chairs and walkers while escorting them to their tables. The flag will be presented and displayed for all to see. This will be a very moving and powerful night and all are welcome. Our sub theme is “Take a Vet to Dinner”. We are asking all churches, civic and service organizations to buy the dinner ticket for a vet and their significant other. The term “significant other” is used because many are living with a son, daughter, grand son/daughter or other family member as many spouses are no longer with them.
One of the additional events that was just added will be at a local Bike Night that we were invited to. Since the flag itself is a Garrison Flag (20×38) this gives us a unique opportunity to include a number of vets. We will actually walk the flag into the event from a staging area about one half block away. Since the flag is so large it will give us a greater opportunity to put more of the senior vets around it’s borders to carry it. There will be those who will walk freely and those who’s grand children will assist them by pushing their wheel chairs. After the national anthem and special music a brief address and salute will be made to those vets from all present with our gratitude.
Saturday the 21st will be our USECC Bike Rally, “Follow the Flag”. The flag will be encased in a specially made display case of 4×8 Plexiglas that is mounted on top the bed of a full size truck. Motorcyclist (and those wishing to drive cars) will then escort the flag to the Veterans Memorial at Lincoln’s Tomb in Springfield Illinois for a tribute and ceremony. The ceremony will be taped and immediately posted on our website www.usecc.com The ride will proceed on and finish with a new event Saturday evening. More on that in just a minute.
Another of the unexpected events is a result of thinking outside the box. I was asked earlier this year while in Greensburg Kansas doing a series of services for Memorial Day, what the rest of our summer looked like. When told of Follow the Flag, local people wanted to be a part of it. Their idea was to have a bike rally there for USECC and include their own special stop. Ft Dodge.
Ft Dodge is located just outside of Dodge City and has it’s own unique history. What I was not aware of is that the Ft Dodge National Veterans Cemetery was founded for the vets from the Indian Wars. This will be one the stops on their ride, in addition, they will also select a location they can stop at with a big screen TV and web connection, go to our website and pull up our ceremony and use it for their service, fantastic.
Things only get better, with everyone’s assistance, we will exchange flags from Lincoln’s Tomb to be used as their escort flag, and we will receive a flag from Ft Dodge which we will then fly over Lincoln’s tomb and leave there. The flag from Ft Dodge will then be donated to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Our ride here in Illinois will conclude with a special treat that evening. A local blues organization and BBQ caterer have joined with us for a great night of bikes, blues and BBQ.
Our weekend will conclude with the flag at one of our local churches for a fitting end to the weekend in the house of God giving thanks for His favor and grace for establishing this nation. Our prayers are always for that fact never to escape our minds and not take heavens blessings and liberty for granted.
May God’s Peace and Grace keep us all, and may we bless his Name forever…………Chaplain Steve