By Patrick Kramer
As we have just celebrated Memorial Day we as Americans now look forward to July 4th – a great day filled with celebration and patriotic pride or at least according to how I grew up that is. “Let The Flag Wave,” since its first year, has wished to boost that same pride within the patriotic future of Antigo’s children. After all, they are our patriotic future and the men and women who just might continue to help pay for our freedom. Thus it is once again that we will be bringing flags to the July 4th parade for the children.
Part of the reason for this letter is due to my having been asked again why I put myself through all that is involved in bringing the flags to the children and lately followed by “You know, after all the things you and your friends experienced last year!” The other part of this letter is indeed to say thank you to all who have ever helped us get the flags I purchase for the children plus all the great people my friends and I have seen along the parade route. With that, allow me to give you some of the story behind why we so greatly enjoy bringing the flags to the children.
“Let The Flag Wave” is now in its 11th year of bringing the flags to the children thanks to an old memory of a young boy who was watching a man giving away little 4 x 6” flags on July 4th. He stood there watching and waiting for his turn to get one of those little flags. He stood there for some time only to see this particular man walk past him without a flag for him. It is something I think I will always remember as it is truly the factor, coupled with the patriotic pride of a veteran, that inspired me to undertake this idea.
Eleven years ago, I made my first effort to raise money for what I hoped to be 1,000 flags of the 12 x 18” size in spite of everyone saying, “Get the little ones. You can get more and give them to everyone!” Simply put, it seemed no one was fully listening to what I was and still am saying about giving them to children. After all, the children are worth the larger flag and as for adults, if like many I see on the parade route, they will bring their own flags.
Also, there are other reasons to bring the flags to the children again this year. Let me put it to you this way – once you have seen the way the children look at what is now their flag, you receive a special feeling. It is much like the very first year when I saw a house door open and several children came out. At first, they were headed towards me until they noticed my friends on their side of the road. It is one of the many great moments we have experienced while doing this over the years where I wished I had had a camera! Believe me, there are many memories and even a few photos I have received to help keep my spirits up. There is always the waiting and worry if the flags will arrive on time and the few adults who tend to not act as they should.
My friends and I enjoy seeing the smiles on the faces of the children as they receive their flags. We try very hard to politely deal with the few adults who demand a flag and even insult us when we tell them the flags are purchased for the children. Why? Simply because the greater majority of the people we see on the parade route and all who support us in getting the flags for the children are worth it.
As this year is the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into WWI, we at “Let The Flag Wave” greatly look forward to bringing the flags to children again this year! We truly hope to see the great people along the route but mostly their children so as to hopefully give each child a flag.
Patrick N. Kramer