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NEWS | June 16, 2021

Flag Day rises beyond coronavirus, bringing local community together

By Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker 85th Support Command

More than a year after the Coronavirus affected the world, one Illinois village has risen from the despair. The Village of Buffalo Grove celebrated Flag Day, on June 14th, at Veterans Park.
Flag Day can be traced back to The Second Continental Congress’ declaration on June 14th, 1777.

President Woodrow Wilson later declared in 1916 that the nation would officially observe Flag Day on June 14th. The day also commemorates the U.S. Army’s birthday on June 14, 1775, which celebrated 246 years of service to the United States of America this year.

Buffalo Grove celebrates Flag Day each year, however, this year’s attendees expressed more joy about the commemoration. Coronavirus may have crippled the country, but the celebrants of Buffalo Grove expressed that they were determined to move on.

Scott Jacobson, President of the Buffalo Grove Park District Board expressed the significance of this event.

“It brought everyone together, regardless of their political differences and ethnicities,” said Jacobson. “They were united in honoring the (American) flag and military.”

This honor was exhibited as each service’s flag was unfurled and hoisted high above its respective engraved stone marker.

Ryan Risinger, Executive Director of the Buffalo Grove Park District saw the event as an opportunity to appreciate the freedoms many Americans took for granted. The fifteen-year participant also noted that the event honored military members who served and died for those who now have the freedom to express differing opinions. Lt. Col. Keith A. Cowan, commander of the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command’s 3rd Battalion, 335 Infantry Regiment based in Fort Sheridan, Illinois, was the keynote speaker for the event. He referenced the War of 1812 in his speech.

“By dawn’s early light, he (poet Francis Scott Key) looked out and saw the banner above the fort (Fort McHenry) a bit tattered, but still flying proudly above the ramparts,” said Cowan.

U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. (Retired) Priscilla Van Zanten added that the event was significant because she was a seventeen-year resident of Buffalo Grove and it was important to her to have a military presence in the community and to have participants come together.

Van Zanten also stated that she had no hesitation in participating in the event because she believed people “needed to return back to a sense of normalcy.”