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York County groups plan Flag Day festivities

Jason Addy
York Dispatch

Several boroughs and groups across York County are gearing up for their annual Flag Day celebrations this week. 

The Flag Day holiday was established to commemorate the adoption of the United States flag on June 14, 1777, and 240 years later, Yorkers will continue that tradition at local parks and cemeteries. 

Bugler Kevin Baum plays taps during a short ceremony following the placement of 2,393 American flags as the Afghanistan War Flag Memorial is reinstalled at Prospect Hill Cemetery in York City, Saturday, April 22, 2017. An additional 303 state flags were also placed commemorating fallen Pennsylvanians who lost their lives in  Afghanistan and Iraq. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Some observances will be held Wednesday on Flag Day, while other ceremonies will take place Saturday.

North York: Prospect Hill Cemetery will host its 2017 U.S. Flag Retirement Committal ceremony at noon Wednesday. 

At the ceremony, cemetery staff will collect worn and tattered American flags and bury previously cremated flags near the Court of Valor veterans’ memorial, according to the release.

The ceremony is meant “to honorably retire a symbol that has served its purpose by laying the flags to rest next to the men and women who have fought to defend it,” the release states.

The flag-retirement program has been running for 20 years, since Heffner’s Funeral Chapel and Crematory in West Manchester Township began collecting and cremating tattered American flags in 1997.

Prospect Hill Cemetery has served as the symbolic resting place for these flags for the past several years because of the site's “patriotic legacy and dedication to veterans,” the release states.

The cremated flags have been collected from numerous American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and other veterans organizations, while individuals also have contributed their worn flags, according to the release. 

“Prospect Hill Cemetery is proud to serve as the final resting place for these American flags, as it has for American patriots from every war in which our country has participated,” the release states.

York City: The York Elks Lodge 213 will host its annual Flag Day ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing & Peace Garden on Vander Avenue in York City.

York County Court of Common Pleas Judge Craig Trebilcock, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, will be the keynote speaker at the event, which also will feature patriotic music by the Spring Garden Band and a presentation about the history of the American flag, according to a news release.

The Elks Lodge at 223 N. George St. will play host to a $5-per-person picnic-style dinner after the ceremony. The ceremony will be held at the lodge in case of inclement weather, according to the release.

American flags will be handed out to those attending the ceremony.

Elks lodges have observed Flag Day for more than 100 years, since the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks mandated all local chapters observe the holiday annually starting in 1911, the release states.

Red Lion: For the fifth year running, state Rep. Stan Saylor, R-Windsor, will host a celebration in Red Lion to mark Flag Day.

The annual event to commemorate Flag Day will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the borough’s Fairmount Park on Boundary Avenue, according to a news release.

“Red Lion is a very patriotic town, and Flag Day has been a great fit since we started this event four years ago,” Saylor said in the release. “We just had a fantastic Memorial Day parade here, and Flag Day is a great way to kick off the summer.”

The Flag Day celebrations will kick off Fairmount Fun Day, which will feature a community barbecue, entertainment, vendors, free activities and games. Saylor encouraged York County residents to “bring the kids,” with the borough opening its splash pad Saturday for the summer. 

Proceeds from Fairmount Fun Day will go toward the borough’s Independence Day fireworks display on July 3, according to the borough’s website.