Hernando County residents showed their patriotism on Saturday morning at St. Frances Cabrini’s Flag Day celebration in Spring Hill.
During a brief, balmy ceremony following morning rain showers, attendees recited the pledge of allegiance and sang both “The Star Spangled Banner” and “It’s a Grand Old Flag.”
The St. Frances Cabrini Knights of Columbus color guard stood watch as the existing flag was lowered and ceremonially folded, and a brand-new flag was raised. Dr. Michael Higgins, who served as the ceremony’s “faithful navigator,” explained there are certain procedures for flying a new flag, which cannot be placed in the box the new American flag came in and must be escorted off the field by the color guard.
U.S. Rep. Richard Nugent explained it took until 1949 for June 14 to be designated as a nationally recognized event.
“Once in a while, Congress gets it right,” Nugent joked.
Representing the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office was Col. Mike Maurer, who said Flag Day is not only about honoring the flag, but the men and women who have defended it.
Hernando County District Fire Chief William Eagle said patriotism is a noun that shows love and devotion to one’s country.
“The flag, for me, is that symbol,” Eagle said.
Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson commended the Knights for holding a Flag Day ceremony year after year and said that she considered her position as her “patriotic duty.”
“And I think I have the best job in Hernando County,” Anderson said.