June 14 is Flag Day, a day commemorating the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777, by the Second Continental Congress.
It's also one of the six days of the year American flags wave in the wind at hundreds of lakes area businesses, courtesy of the Brainerd Noon Sertoma Club.
The Sertoma's flag committee is responsible for placing American flags at area businesses for Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Sept. 11 (Patriot Day) and, of course, Flag Day.
"It's just to show the patriotism and pride of the American flag and to just have the red, white and blue waving as the traffic goes by," Sertoma Club member Reed Campbell said Tuesday, June 11.
As a flag route captain, Campbell is one of the volunteers who gets up early to put flags out the morning of the holiday and then returns in the evening to take them down.
"It just gives me a lot of pride and patriotism to get out there on those holidays and put the flags up in the morning," Campbell said of his decade on the flag committee.
Seven groups of up to six people-each with a flag captain or two-started out about 6-7 a.m. Friday to hang flags on participating businesses.
As of Tuesday, flag committee chair Nick Haglin said the group had 377 red, white and blue flags to place around the lakes area.
For Haglin, the flag tradition is one he enjoys with his three sons.
"It's kind of like our little thing that we've done for the past few years," Haglin said. "They enjoy helping out with it, and it's something good for them to see."
Haglin has been involved with the group for about five years and took over chairing the committee this year from Lowell Carlson, who retained the post for about 12 years, drilling holes for flag poles and organizing the proceedings for each holiday.
Carlson also served as the group's handyman, who was tasked with fixing any poles damaged by snow plows or severe weather over the winter.
His commitment to the flag committee stemmed from the enjoyment he experiences when seeing Old Glory line the roads through Brainerd.
"The feel, the look of it, driving into town or out of town and seeing all those American flags flying, I just thought it was a great feeling," Carlson said. "And I thought it was a patriotic statement."
Both Carlson and Haglin said they've received many grateful comments over the years from community members.
"It's pretty amazing when we are putting them out how many people driving by will stop and say, 'Thank you for doing that,'" Haglin said. "I think people in the community really appreciate seeing that."
Volunteers usually spend about an hour putting flags up in the morning and another hour taking them down in the evening, thus logging countless holiday hours since the committee's inception in the early 2000s.
For more information on the Sertoma's flag committee, or to sign a business up to receive a flag on the six holidays, visit https://sertoma.brainerd.com/flag-committee. The cost to participate is $35 for the first flag and $30 for any additional flags. Proceeds go directly to the Sertoma Club to fund various community service projects throughout the year.
American flag etiquette
The U.S. Flag Code, passed in 1942, dictates how citizens should behave around the American flag.
- Display only between sunrise and sunset on buildings and stationary flagpoles, unless the flagpole is illuminated.
- When flown at half-staff, the flag should first be raised to the peak and then lowered to half-staff. It should then be raised to peak again before being lowered for the day.
- Display the flag at half-staff on special days, including Memorial Day, when it is at half-staff until noon and then raised.
- When displayed either vertically or horizontally on a wall, window or door, the union (blue field of stars) should be to the observer's left.
- When displayed on a car, the flag should be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
- When used to cover a casket, the union should be at the head and over the left shoulder.
- In procession, the American flag should be to the right of any other flag, or if in a line of flags, it should be in front of the center of the line.
- In the U.S., the flag should not be displayed above any other flag.
- When saluting a flag, all people present in uniform (military, police, fire, etc.) should render the military salute. Other members of the armed forces and veterans may do so as well. All others present should stand at attention with their right hand over the heart and remove any headdress and hold it at the left shoulder.
- Worn flags should be disposed of in a dignified and ceremonious fashion, preferably by burning.
- Don't dip the flag to any person or thing, including government officials.
- Don't let the flag touch the ground, floor, water or merchandise.
- Don't let fly the flag upside down, except in the case of an emergency.
- Don't use the flag as clothing.
- Don't store the flag where it can get dirty.
- Don't use the flag as a cover for a ceiling.
- Don't place anything on top of the flag.
- Don't fasten the flag or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free. Instead use red, white and blue bunting for decoration.
- Don't draw on or otherwise mark the flag.
- Don't place another flag or pennant above the U.S. flag in civilian use.
- Don't use part of the flag as a costume.
- Don't carry the flag flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.
- Don't display the flag on a float in a parade except from a staff or against a wall or window with the union, or blue field, to the left of the observer.