PADUCAH – Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Security Unit in Paducah invited first responders and other community members to its ceremony Tuesday morning in honor of Flag Day and paying tribute to the flag American.
Commanders and elected officials explained what the flag represents and what it means to them as a Paducah Fire Department engine waved a huge American flag at the corner of Broadway and Water Street.
“We, the people of the United States of America, take this day to reflect on the foundations of our nation’s freedom. We also remember our loyalty to the nation, reaffirm our faith in freedom and justice, and respect the unity of our nation,” said Lt. Cmdr. Mihai Leta, general manager of the Paducah Maritime Security Unit, said at Tuesday’s ceremony.
In addition to members of the Coast Guard and Auxiliary Coast Guard members, first responders from the Paducah Police, Paducah Fire Department and McCracken County Sheriff’s Office also recognized Flag Day during the ceremony. of Tuesday.
Flag Day is held annually on June 14 in recognition of the anniversary of the Continental Congress’ recognition of the first flag of the United States in 1777. Flag Day became a nationally recognized occasion under President Harry Truman in 1949.
The American flag is more than just a piece of cloth, Seamen’s Church Institute chaplain David Shirk said in an opening prayer.
The flag is special, he continued, because of the people who risked their lives to fight for the flag and for the country, and represents freedom and a beacon of hope in the world.
“The flag itself is a symbol of what is dear to us in this country. We should never look past it or blend it into the backdrop. We should always be looking for it,” Paducah Mayor George Bray said.
“The flag represents, for all of us, unity, justice, freedom, rights, patriotism, humanity and much more.”
McCracken County Executive Judge Craig Clymer said the flag represents the struggles and lost lives of those who put their country and its ideals before themselves and fought for freedom.
“We will instill in our children, for generations to come, that we are grateful for the blessings of living in the greatest country ever created, and we will stand proud and attentive when our flag, the flag of our United States of ‘America, is hoisted deployed,’ Clymer said.
June 14 is also the birthday of the U.S. Army, which was established in 1775. Sgt. 1st Class John Head, station commander of the U.S. Army Recruiting Team in Paducah, provided attendees with a brief history of the founding of the U.S. Army.
The Marine Security Unit also brought out a small 29-foot Coast Guard boat, which operates with a crew of three, for people to check out after the Flag Day ceremony.
While it was the first time the U.S. Coast Guard Paducah Marine Security Unit has held a Flag Day ceremony, Leta said he hopes it won’t be the last.