Caring women organize Flag Day ceremonies

Members of the 20th Maine Company B, a Civil War reneactment group, are reflected in a  46-star American Flag ca.1907, which was on display with other vintage flags at the Flag Day ceremony at Bangor's waterfront Tuesday evening. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS)
BDN
Members of the 20th Maine Company B, a Civil War reneactment group, are reflected in a 46-star American Flag ca.1907, which was on display with other vintage flags at the Flag Day ceremony at Bangor's waterfront Tuesday evening. (BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS)
Posted June 04, 2010, at 12:52 a.m.

Thanks to the dedicated effort of just two women, residents of Greater Bangor have been fortunate, for the past 22 years, to have the opportunity to participate in Flag Day ceremonies.

For the record, I’ll add my own observation that Bangor residents should be especially grateful to be the host site for this event because neither woman is a resident of the Queen City.

Mary Drew of Orono is now in her second year as our official Flag Day Lady, organizing the ceremony and following in the capable footsteps of Judy Butler of Eddington, who ran the program for 20 years.

Drew told me that while the planning is well under way for the Flag Day ceremonies beginning at 6 p.m. Monday, June 14, on the Bangor Waterfront or, if it rains, at the Bangor Rec Department on Main Street, openings still are available for others to participate.

Now scheduled to take part will be Fred Heath leading the Dirigo Wind Band, the Carousel Cloggers, the Maine Corps League as color guard and conducting the flag-folding ceremony, and one of the classes from the Mary Drew School of Dance entertaining to the music of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Additionally, Drew said she’s very happy that one of the classes from the Glenburn School offered to be part of the activities.

There is no admission fee to attend.

Drew would love to have other school groups and organizations take part but, as she said, “it’s really hard to get people to commit for something with school winding down and everything being put away.”

It is safe to say Flag Day is not a major event in many communities, which is why we should be pleased these women have seen to it that this tradition is carried on here.

Drew and Butler met several years ago.

“I believe it was at a Flag Day event,” Drew said.

Both are Maine Troop Greeters, and both share a special love for the American flag.

“She tried to involve everyone,” Drew said of Butler, and when it came time for someone to step forward and take Butler’s place, Drew knew it was her turn.

“Judy just always said that I should be the one to take over for her, and I said it’s always at my recital time,” Drew explained.

But in 2009, when Drew’s son “was getting ready to leave for Iraq,” she said, Butler officially issued her plea, through this column, for a replacement as our Flag Day Lady.

“I just couldn’t not let it happen,” Drew said of the possibility of there being no Flag Day ceremony in Bangor last year.

So even though her busy schedule of dance, wellness, Zumba programs and other community activities and family commitments keeps the 57-year-old on the run, “I took it on, and Judy gave me three full pages of contacts,” Drew said.

There was one little hitch: When Butler decided to “retire,” so did some of her contacts, meaning Drew had to dig a little deeper.

And she’s still digging.

Drew still would like to hear from anyone who wants to take part in this event that commemorates the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our national standard.

You can reach Drew at 745-1621.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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