The Clovis Elks Lodge, Clovis Veterans Memorial District, VFW, American Legion and Business Organization of Old Town commemorated the United States flag, which was originally adopted on June 14, 1777. The Second Continental Congress adopted the flag more than 240 years ago.
At Centennial Plaza on the corner of Pollasky and Bullard Avenues in Old Town Clovis on Friday, members of the community witnessed a presentation of all iterations of the U.S. flag and stirring tributes by multiple individuals involved with the event, including the keynote address from Clovis Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua.
For Mouanoutoua, the flag and its history evoke a feeling of thankfulness and pride.
“Like some of you, I came from afar and fell in love with America,” Mouanoutoua said during his emotional address.
What Mouanoutoua fell in love with was a dream. A dream that offered him the chance to build a better life for him and his family.
“The American dream is not that we all be at the same level as every other person; however, the American dream is that all of us are free to become whatever God intends us to become – having the opportunity to grow, create wealth, and build a better life,” he said.
Clovis Community members were given an oral history on the U.S. flag, which included seven different flags, all signifying a period of our country’s history. Veterans within the community hoisted the flags and walked in front of the ceremony one by one, giving the onlookers a full display of each flag.
The presentation began with the Continental Marines during the American Revolution, who used the politician Christopher Gadsden “Don’t Tread on Me” flag back in 1775, and ended with the present-day Stars and Stripes, the national flag of the U.S. today.
Tim Salyer, leader of Troop 257, and his scouts attended the Flag Day ceremony for the second year in a row and not only helped to pass out flags and programs but took part in an event to help commemorate the flag: a small retirement ceremony.
Members of Troop 257 gathered around a fire pit and set the unusable flag ablaze as a way to commemorate the occasion.
“It basically means the true burning of the flag, the flag that is no longer flyable –– it needs to be retired,” Salyer explained.
It’s part of an overall lesson, which is important for the young kids to take part of, Salyer said.
“They get to serve. It’s about respect to the flag and doing service and that’s what we do,” he said.
Councilmember Mouanoutoua had his kids in mind when he closed out the Flag Day ceremony with a tribute to the country he adopted.
“I think it’s sort of like eating, you forget why you eat, and I can’t tell you what my wife made each and every night, but I know I have to eat it. If I don’t, I lose my strength and I think these are ceremonies where we have to just do it, so that way you remember the meaning of our country and the meaning of our flag.”
The flag will continue to be honored at the annual Fourth of July celebration in Clovis. Community members can come together and celebrate the birthday of our nation, along with what our country means to us.
“July 4th is a celebration of the birth of our great nation – a birth based upon the ideal that all of us are created with certain god-given rights. That government is a mere convenience created for and belonging to the people. It is a time to feel proud about our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Mouanoutoua said.