For 23 years, Bangor has been host to an event celebrating a day that is federally recognized but that is not a federal or state holiday: Flag Day.
The city’s Flag Day celebration begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 14, on the Bangor Waterfront. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved inside, to the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department Building at 647 Main St.
Flag Day, according to the Internet, commemorates the July 14, 1777, adoption by resolution of the Stars and Stripes by the Second Continental Congress as the official flag of the United States.
President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed June 14 as Flag Day in 1916 and, in August, 1949, President Harry S. Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14 as National Flag Day.
For the past three years, we have been most fortunate to have had the volunteer leadership of Mary Drew of Glenburn as the sole organizer of this local event and, to her, we owe our most sincere gratitude, because it is not an easy task.
Each year, Mary told me earlier this week, it is getting increasingly difficult to find people, groups, organizations and schools willing and able to take part.
So Mary just keeps making calls, hoping for them to be returned which, unfortunately, does not often happen.
Everybody is busy, it seems, and getting busier all the time.
But Mary remains optimistic, and determined to continue this Bangor Flag Day tradition.
“We are hoping for good weather,” she said. “The last two years we had to move indoors. If it rains, or is the least bit threatening, we will be inside.”
And while the program is pretty well set, earlier this week Mary was still seeking a chaplain to participate, as well as anyone else who might like to do a reading, sing or in any other way contribute to this one day a year when we recognize the American Flag as the standard of our country.
The Marine Corps League, Detachment 1151, based in Bangor and led by Commandant William Jones will present the colors and conduct the flag-folding ceremony, for which Mary is most appreciative.
“God bless them,” Mary said of the group that has long been a mainstay of the program and has been faithful about being in contact with her.
Members of her Mary Drew School of Dance in Orono also will take part, as they have in the past.
Dancers in the Class III and Advance level will perform to patriotic medleys in patriotic costumes, thanks again to Mary, who can sew up a storm.
Attendees will especially enjoy their performance to the music of the ever-popular “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” made famous by The Andrews Sisters during World War II.
The program also features the four-part, a capella harmony of the women’s group the River City Harmonizers, directed by Mary Gaudreau, and there will be various patriotic poetry readings, Mary Drew said.
“We are still looking for people to take part,” she added, “and anyone who wants to can call me at 745-1621. I especially hope that people will turn out to honor the flag.”
River City Harmonizers, by the way, always is looking for women who love to sing barbershop style, and welcomes new members.
The chorus currently is meeting from 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. Thursdays, at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 540 Essex St. in Bangor, in preparation for its July performance at Belfast’s Arts in the Park, member Lynn Rogers told me.
For more information about River City Harmonizers, call Sylvia Pomeroy at 947-3128.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.