By Phoebe Prettyman
The American flag stood tall and majestically blew in the wind during this year’s Flag Day ceremony.
People gathered around the flag located at the Ocean City-Longport Bridge Flag Area on Saturday morning.
The crowd included local veterans as well as others who came to show their support. The themes of freedom and pride were expressed several times throughout the program.
The event was hosted by the Ocean City Gardens Civic Association to honor local veterans. Patricia Watts, president of OCGCA, opened the ceremony by expressing her gratitude for the veterans and for those who attended the event.
She was followed by a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem sung by Katie Gallagher. After that, multiple speakers, including Mayor Jay Gillian, Pastor Matt Stokes, Councilman Michael DeVlieger and former U.S. Ambassador to Panama and former Congressman William J. Hughes, delivered their own remarks.
Mayor Gillian started with the introduction and expressed immense thanks and gratitude for the veterans and current members of the military. He also thanked former Ambassador Hughes for his public service and for attending the event.
Pastor Stokes touched on the symbolism of the flag and how it encompasses so much pride. He gave an insightful invocation and then led the crowd in prayer.
Councilman DeVlieger spoke about how the flag represents freedom on many levels. He also pointed out that the U.S. Coast Guard had a large involvement during the storming of the Normandy beaches 75 years ago during the D-Day invasion. Since Ocean City is a coastal town, there are close ties with the Coast Guard.
Hughes first expressed his thanks to the Ocean City Gardens Civic Association, the event organizer. He also thanked the other speakers, the VFW and the American Legion. He noted that this year is the 244th birthday of the U.S. Army and acknowledged those in the crowd who fought for our country under that branch.
The ceremony came to an end after representatives from the VFW and the American Legion raised and then lowered the flag.