MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon’s Flag Day celebration on Public Square on Monday featured the naming of the winners of the Proudly We Hail and Spirit of Patriotism awards. The celebration was sponsored by the Exchange Club of Mount Vernon and Knox County.
Exchange Club member Melody Brent welcomed the guests; the Mount Vernon Fire Department presented an honor guard. Sarah Moxley, U.S. Marine Corps, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Thom Collier spoke about Exchange Club.
The featured speaker was retired U.S. Air Force Major Bob Sichel. Sichel spoke about the history of the flag and what it meant to him.
“It was on this date, June 14, 1777, that the Continental Congress resolved that the flag of the United States be made up of 13 stripes alternating red and white, and the union be 13 white stars on a field of blue representing a new constellation,” he told the crowd. “It was from this action that the American flag was born.”
Sichel said the flag meant everything to him.
“While I was in the service, the flag was always a part of my life,” he said. “Even when in a foreign country, the stars and stripes were always on display in the compound that we lived in. After I left the Air Force, I continued to respect the flag by flying it outside my home. The flag has great meaning to me and I feel it should always be respected.”
Exchange Club President Dodie Melvin announced the winners of the Proudly We Hail and Spirit of Patriotism awards, with the help of Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Mavis, local radio personality Dave Bevington and Collier.
“Each year on Flag Day the Exchange Club of Mount Vernon and Knox County seeks to recognize individuals and businesses that promote patriotism and fly the flag according to the official U.S. flag code,” she said.
The 2010 Spirit of Patriotism award went to John and Sharon Fair.
The winner of the Commercial Proudly We Hail award was UMD Automated Systems, owned by Don and Laura Rogers. The residential award went to Michael H. Quinn who, along with his wife, Regina A. Quinn, was nominated by his daughter, Regina E. Quinn.
The flag folding ceremony was read by Jim Beroth while two flags were folded by veteran flag folders Mo Crea and Dr. Paul Dove, USAF; Lowell Henthorn, U.S. Marine Corps; and Don Walters, U.S. Army.
The Knox County Joint Veterans Council gave a rifle salute and “Taps” was played by Don Dean.