Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle stepped up to the microphone, her tie-dyed American flag-inspired dress swaying in the wind, and launched into Johnny Cash’s “Ragged Old Flag,” soliciting approving nods and smiles from the crowd before her.
“I walked through a county courthouse square
On a park bench an old man was sitting there
I said, your old courthouse is kinda run down
He said, naw, it’ll do for our little town
I said, your old flagpole has leaned a little bit
And that’s a ragged old flag you got hanging on it
He said, have a seat, and I sat down
Is this the first time you’ve been to our little town?
I said, I think it is
He said, I don’t like to brag
But we’re kinda proud of that ragged old flag”
The recital was McEnerny-Ogle’s attempt to win over the judges for the Clark County Mayors’ Patriotic Tie Contest, during The Historic Trust’s 25th annual Flag Day Celebration on Friday at the Fort Vancouver National Site. And as luck would have it, the poem led her to victory over the Ridgefield, Washougal, Yacolt and Camas mayors.
Wearing a patriotic scarf, Washougal Mayor Molly Coston gave McEnerny-Ogle a run for her money, though, when she shared “just a bit of whimsy” by singing “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” while the crowd of about 150 clapped along.
Stacey Graham, The Historic Trust’s board chairwoman, told those gathered that the community is fortunate to have a place like the Fort Vancouver National Site “to celebrate our flag, to honor our veterans, to celebrate all of the wonderful and amazing things that have happened over time in our country.”
She said the site reminds us of what came before us, “because we wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for all of them — those pioneers that got here in the first place, all the way to the people who are still in other countries across the world fighting wars on our behalf.”
Flag Day at the Fort Vancouver National Site is part of The Historic Trust’s Celebrate Freedom program, which includes Vancouver’s Fireworks Spectacular on the Fourth of July, Veterans Parade, Marshall Public & Youth Leadership Awards, and Marshall Lectures.
In addition to sponsoring the Flag Day event, Davidson & Associates Insurance, with Grange Insurance, is holding a free community flag exchange through Monday. People can exchange their old American flag for a new 3-by-5 flag, while supplies last, between 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Davidson office, 610 Esther Street, Suite 101.
Exchanged flags should be removed from poles and dried if wet. Fort Vancouver District Boy Scouts of America will perform proper flag retirement ceremonies for all exchanged flags. For more information, visit www.thehistorictrust.org.