WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts joined Americans everywhere observing Flag Day and the Army’s birthday. 22News found out why this day is so important, especially to our veterans.
“I think we need to have more people out here to celebrate what we live under and what we’re dying for.”
Every June 14th, the symbol of freedom around the world, the American Flag, is honored on Flag Day. For those who serve our country, the American flag is everything: patriotism, hope, sacrifice.
Mike Brunetti recalls the symbol of the flag when he watched his comrades’ bodies get transported home at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, “We would line the road that the coffins, the flag draped coffins would come by. Those were the real heroes. The rest of us, we’re survivors, we’re lucky to be here, but the real heroes were underneath those flags.”
At Kane Park in Westfield, patriotic citizens waved their flags, spreading awareness of the day they believe should be more widely celebrated. That’s why the Marine Corps League spent the morning handing out flag pins at Walmart in Westfield.
It’s believed to have all begun when President Woodrow Wilson designated this day to celebrate the anniversary of the flag’s creation in 1777. President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress in 1949 making the national holiday official.
Children in Army uniforms holding flags represented what Flag Day is all about. For many, this banner has served as hope that our future generations will be able to live in the land of the free, under this flag.
“It’s hope. It’s hope for the future. It really is always morning in America,” said Brunetti, a member of the VFW and American Legion.
This Flag Day also marked the Army’s 239th birthday: a fitting coincidence they’re both on the same day.
“This flag was born in battle for the birth of our nation, which the army was closely connected to obviously and today we pay homage to our Army best,” said Brian Willette of the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
Part of honoring the flag is properly disposing of tattered and torn banners. At a special ceremony at 1PM in West Springfield, flags were cut into 13 pieces and burned properly. It was a symbolic ceremony for a flag that stands for everything we are as a nation.