The Healthy Cities Health Fair and Veterans’ Stand Down at the Wayne Township Trustee’s Office was a great success again this year. We were able to provide free medical services, coats, personal hygiene products and a hot lunch with entertainment to approximately 600 veterans and uninsured and underinsured persons.
I want to offer a well-deserved thank you to all the contributors, supporters, volunteers and my staff for their dedication to this great event. Working with Healthy Cities Committee Chairs Nila Reimer, Jane Dannhausen and Nancy Mann, all faculty members at IPFW, along with representatives of the VA, was a special pleasure.
One of the best parts of hosting the annual Health Fair and Stand Down is being able to give back to the Veterans, who have sacrificed so much to serve our country. Recognizing and thanking Veterans is especially important at this time of year with Veterans’ Day just around the corner.
During the Health Fair and Stand Down, we had a special section for Veterans inside our building and in the tent in our parking lot. In cooperation with the Veterans’ Administration, Vet Center, and Allen County Veterans’ Services Office, we offered additional services for Veterans, such as Veterans’ benefits counseling. We always focus too on the needs of our homeless Veterans.
In preparation for the Health Fair and Stand Down, I looked at the flags we display in front of our building. We are proud to have three flags, the American flag, the Indiana flag and the POW-MIA flag, which specifically honors and reminds us about our Veterans. I found that the condition of our flags was not up to my standards. Our flags had been hanging on the flagpoles outside our building for some time and were becoming a bit worn.
I immediately undertook the task of obtaining new flags for us, flags which appropriately honored our Country, State and Veterans. I also asked one of my staff to do some research on flags. We needed to update ourselves about the proper disposal of our old flags.
Most of us already knew that the American flag must be disposed of in a dignified manner. Generally, that would be done at a flag burning ceremony. But, what about the other flags? We found, according to Indiana law that the Indiana flag should be disposed of in the same manner as the American flag.
We found nothing specific regarding disposal of the POW-MIA flag. So, I took all three flags to the Jim Eby Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for proper disposal. Many VFW’s, American Legions or other military connected organizations offer this service.
In doing the research about flags, we were reminded of some other interesting information. I knew that the 50 stars represented the 50 states and the 13 stripes represented the original 13 colonies. But, did you know that the American flag has been changed 26 times since it was adopted on June 14, 1777? We were on our third version of the American flag when Indiana became a state in 1816.
It was a little disappointing to learn that although it is great story, no historical evidence exists to prove that Betsy Ross designed and sewed the first American flag. Betsy Ross was a seamstress in Philadelphia at the time, but the historical evidence points to the first official American flag being designed by Francis Hopkinson, a New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Hopkinson sent a bill to Congress for his work, asking for a “quarter cask of the Public Wine,” which he did not receive because he already was being paid as a member of Congress.
Richard A. Stevenson, Sr.
Wayne Township Trustee
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