Archive for Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Baldwin’s red, white, blue

July 2, 2002

I'm always proud to call Baldwin City home, but that pride really swells on the Fourth of July. Red, white and blue looks good around Baldwin and this year's display should be bigger and better than ever.

There are already more individual displays of red, white and blue, including an increase in my favorite version the bunting that's adorning all sorts of places around town. There are lots more flags waving, too.

There can be no doubt that the tragic events of Sept. 11 have spawned the increase in patriotism. If there was anything good to have come from that horrifying day, it's been to put the united back in United States.

But for Baldwin, the red, white and blue motif has always been important. We can thank our strong American Legion post for most of that. The Legion creates the "Avenue of Flags" for every Fourth and other select holidays and occasions.

The Legion started the avenue in the early 1960s in conjunction with the community wide fireworks display and day of celebration at Baker's Liston Stadium, which was mainly an effort of the now defunct "Commercial Club." Unfortunately, the fireworks/celebration tradition died off in the 1980s.

Fast forward to 2000 and another civic-minded group, the Citizens for Baldwin City, was formed to revive the fireworks show and provide entertainment for the city on the Fourth. This is the CFBC's third year and members are hoping that the new tradition will take firm root this year. There has been good attendance at the previous two years, but support for buying fireworks this year hasn't been what was hoped for. Baldwin, if you want this tradition back, support it.

There are numerous activities scheduled for the ballfields north of the high school beginning in the afternoon. The fireworks display should be sometime after 9 p.m.

Of course there's a third Fourth of July event that is most special to me, and it falls in between the 40-plus years the Avenue of Flags has been around and the CFBC's fledgling fireworks display. That would be the annual flag distribution all over town where residents wake up to find an American flag placed in their yard.

Hedges Real Estate started the tradition in the early 1990s. Joining quickly into the promotion were Baldwin State Bank and Mid-America Bank. American Family Insurance joined the sponsoring lineup last year.

Employees of those businesses get up early on the Fourth of July, split up into groups and cover the entire town with more than 1,000 flags. Every yard in Baldwin gets a flag. Many people in town have saved those flags over the years and put them out in addition to the new one. It makes for plenty of red, white and blue.

I'll never forget the first year that happened for us. We moved into town from the country in 1993 and there that first flag was on July 4. It was the neatest promotion for the Fourth I'd ever seen. Since then, I've always waited patiently for the Fourth to roll around for getting a new flag.

Yes, I'm one of those savers and I've put together quite a collection. I like to line my entire yard with the flags on the Fourth. And, like the American Legion, I did the same on the declared Flag Day following the Sept. 11 attack.

We're all more aware of what our country means to us as a result of this crazy year. The amount of patriotism shown up to the Fourth has been phenomenal. I'm guessing this year's Fourth will bring on displays like never before.

It makes me proud to live in this country and, specifically, Baldwin City. Display your red, white and blue and let's make this Fourth one to remember. Bring on the fireworks.

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