American Legion hosts flag raising, dedication to kick off Veterans Week

TAYLOR COUNTY—Taylor County is a place steeped in rich military heritage, and as a way to make certain the service and sacrifices of the brave men and women who don an Armed Forces uniform don’t go unnoticed, every year, residents come together to honor the American Veteran.

On Saturday, the American Legion Post 12, one of Taylor County’s proud veterans organizations, held a special occurrence to help kick off Veterans Week, a time to honor and pay tribute to the brave men and women who pledged to protect the nation and its inhabitants.

Veterans, city officials, county representatives, residents and guests gathered at the Isle of Flags in Blueville for a flag raising and dedication, to celebrate the Legion’s ability to secure brand new flagpoles that would proudly display the flags at the memorial.

During the event the Grafton High School Band played the national anthem while individuals hoisted the stars and stripes, and then the Entertainers added to the patriotism with a few patriotic selections.

“It was so good to see the number of people who came out for the flag raising and dedication. We were really in awe of the amount of people who came, and even more so, those who traveled from further distances such as Martinsburg and even Winchester, Virginia to be here to support us,” said American Legion Post 12 Commander Robbie Robinson.

He disclosed that military personnel and veterans have three days that are set aside for them each year: Armed Forces Day honors those who are active duty military, Memorial Day honors those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and Veterans Day pays tribute to all those who have served in uniform.

“There is more to Veterans Day than just a sale at the mall, way more than that. It’s about the men and women who served our nation,” Robinson voiced. “The term veteran means someone that gave part of their life to protect our nation and to protect you. If you see a veteran, especially this week, tell them thank you for their service; it’ll mean more to them than probably anything else.”

According to American Legion Children and Youth Officer Doug Robinson, Post 12 was able to obtain flag poles for the 50 American flags proudly displayed at the Isle of Flags, as well as six additional poles used to fly the flags of each branch of the military.

“Many people don’t realize that there is now a sixth branch of the military,” he explained. “There, of course, are the Army, Navy, Air Force Marines and the United States Coast Guard. But we have added the Space Force.”

He noted that the donations of poles came from various outlets, including individual and private donations, as well as local organizations and businesses.

“We also received contributions from American Legion posts from around the state and our department headquarters,” D. Robinson revealed.

And in addition to monetary donations, the Legion also received contributions from area businesses in the way of reduced or free labor for the installation of the poles.

During the event, American Legion Post 12 revealed a plaque displaying the names of those who had contributed this far. The plaque will be mounted on the brick building at the Isle of Flags, behind the Battlefield Cross.

“I was joking with folks that we have another backing plate that we can add more names to. The community has been really great, so far, and we are beyond grateful, but we could always use more help,” D. Robinson voiced. “We’re still looking for anybody who’s interested and would like to make a donation or purchase a pole.”

While the organization was able to erect enough poles for all the flags, there will always be upkeep and maintenance costs associated with the local memorial.

“All it takes is one car or one good storm and we will be in need again,” he commented. “And in the future, we will need to replace flags, as well as rope and clips associated with the general upkeep.”

Individuals can, in effect, purchase a pole for a $125 donation. Those wishing to do so could contact a Post 12 American Legion member.

“In addition to those who came together to make this day so special, we would like to thank Tim Gerkin for his hard work in keeping the lot trimmed, the equipment in good working order and maintaining the displays,” R. Robinson expressed. “Jennings Garden Center makes sure every spring that there are flowers in the planter, and the City of Grafton adds to Freedom Flags featuring veterans from May to July. There are many others that donate too, there are too many to mention, but we’d like to thank you all.”

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