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Jonesborough to celebrate Flag Day with special June 14 event

Historic Jonesborough will pay tribute to the nation’s flag with a special event on Saturday, June 14, from 4-7 p.m. at the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School.
An initiative by the Town’s Flag Committee, the June 14 event will mark its first Flag Day Celebration, and the group has hopes of this becoming an annual tradition in Jonesborough.
“We are really excited for Jonesborough’s first ever Flag Day Celebration and have already begun planning for the 2015 event,” Flag Committee chairperson and U.S. Army Veteran Ruth Verhage said.
The celebration will open at 4 p.m. to the general public with the opportunity to view a replica of the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s display titled “United We Stand” that features various magazine covers from July 4, 1942. Each magazine cover honors the American flag in various illustrations. In addition to the “United We Stand” exhibit, there will be demonstrations on proper flag etiquette and retirement procedures. And, the American Legion veteran organization will have educational materials available to the public.  
“Another aspect of the Flag Day Celebration that we’ve been planning for is the silent auction.  There have been so many organizations and businesses that have joined us in donating items for the fundraising portion of the event,” Verhage said.
 The public will have the opportunity to bid on popular items during the event including gift baskets, local goods and gift certificates including various Jonesborough businesses and activities, as well as a “Night on the Town” package. 
Money raised from the silent auction will benefit the committee’s ongoing effort to maintain the flags in downtown Jonesborough.  There will also be complimentary food available to the public during the event provided by Food City, Ingles, McDonald’s and Pizza Plus of Jonesborough. 
 A special musical tribute will begin at 6 p.m. that includes the Jonesborough Presbyterian Bell Ringers, patriotic music from local children’s choirs, soloists and the Golden Heirs. Other entertainment will include performances by the Daniel Boone High School Marine Corps JROTC and others.
 “Everything is free and there will also be an opportunity to adopt downtown flags with Jonesborough’s Flag Committee,” Verhage said.
According to Verhage, the majority of funding for the Flag Committee is received from the flag adoption program. 
The initial cost is $50 for an engraved plaque that can be purchased in memory or in honor of an organization or person. Plaques are placed on each pole near the flag that is donated. 
A $35 annual renewal fee covers the ongoing maintenance of the flags once they are adopted.
 “The flag adoption program is a great way to honor an organization or individual, and we see a lot of community support through this project,” Verhage said. “The Flag Committee is currently receiving assistance from a local boy scout who will be working on the installation of new dedication plaques for the downtown flag poles.”
 The Flag Committee was formed by the Town of Jonesborough Board of Mayor and Aldermen at the encouragement of Verhage. She recognized a need to publicly support troops overseas, and felt the public display of the flag downtown was a good way to achieve that goal.  Nearly 14 years later, three of the initial members still serve on the committee including Verhage, Alderman Terry Countermine and Nancy Coeburn. The five member group also includes Emily Laughrey and Glenn Walker, along with support from the Town of Jonesborough and various organizations.
 “Anything I can do to keep the American flag flying, I’ll do it,” Verhage said. “I love looking down Main Street and seeing the flags fly. I’ve even had people tell me that they moved to Jonesborough because of the town’s patriotic spirit.”
 The Flag Day Celebration is free and open to the public, with various activities taking place on June 14 from 4-7 p.m. at the McKinney Center at Booker T. Washington School, located at 103 Franklin Ave. For additional information on the event, call 753-1010.