Patriotic salute

The Reno community has celebrated Flag Day with a parade and veterans recognition ceremony annually for the last 15 years. On Sunday more than 70 people attended the ceremonies at the Reno Community Recreation Center.

“Our flag was created 277 years ago … It represents the cause of liberty and justice throughout our world. And when Francis Scott Key saw that flag flying over Fort McHenry, he knew it would always stand,” said Washington County Veterans Service Commission president Jim Fernihough, keynote speaker during Sunday’s event.

“That is our flag flying-it’s your flag, and may it ever fly in freedom,” he said.

Sunday’s Flag Day Parade wasn’t the largest event the community has seen over its 15-year history, according to Kathy McCoy, 71, of Marietta who helped organize the parade and ceremonies when the Reno Lions Club took over the event 10 years ago.

“This year is probably the lowest attendance we’ve ever had,” she said. “We used to have at least 40 units participating in the parade.”

Sunday’s parade only consisted of about six units.

“But we’ve always held the parades on Sundays, rain or shine,” McCoy said.

Barbara Berry, current president of the Reno Lions Club, said although Flag Day was officially on Saturday, the parade had to be held Sunday in order to have the facilities available at the Reno Community Recreation Center.

“And as far as I know, this is the only Flag Day Parade held in this area,” she said. “We not only recognize Flag Day, but also honor all veterans at this event. At the end of the ceremonies we have all the veterans who attend stand up and give their name, rank and time of service, then we present them with a certificate of appreciation.”

The entire community is welcome to in the free event which includes a picnic dinner afterward, said Janice Arnold, past district governor for the Reno Lions Club.

“This is one day we can give a big thank you to all of those that have served their country,” she said. “A lot of families have lost loved ones in military service, and I’m afraid we may lose more, the way things are going overseas now.”

Arnold said all veterans, both living and deceased, are honored during the Flag Day event.

In addition to the Reno Lions, American Legion Post 64 in Marietta and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office color guards, U.S. 6th District U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, and County Commissioner David White attended Sunday’s ceremonies.