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Stars and Stripes honored at O.C. Flag Day commemoration

Members of the Orange County Sheriff's Department Explorers fold a U.S. flag.
Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Explorers program participate in a U.S. flag-folding ceremony Wednesday.
(Courtesy of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley’s office)
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Old Glory — in all its glory — took center stage Wednesday at Irvine’s William R. Mason Regional Park, where citizens joined with elected officials, veterans and first responders to recognize Flag Day and the U.S. Army’s 248th birthday.

Attendees were seeing stars as speakers shared the history and traditions of Flag Day, an observance intended to honor the first adoption of a national flag by the Second Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

Children Wednesday play in a field of flags during a Flag Day celebration in Irvine's Mason Park.
(Courtesy of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley’s office)

Although Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation in 1916 that set aside that same day each year as a time to honor the flag, it wasn’t until Congress finalized the observance under Harry Truman in 1949 that the national holiday was born.

A field of flags provided a visual reminder of the long history of the U.S. Army, initially formed as the Continental Army in 1775.

Fifth District Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley, who began hosting the Flag Day commemoration ceremony last year, said she hoped the display inspired feelings of patriotism.

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“It’s important for members of our community and for future generations to know our American cultural experience and the history of America,” she said.

Remarks were provided by Army veterans state Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) and Juan Garcia, a peer support coordinator for U.S. VETS, a service organization that assists homeless and at-risk veterans.

U.S. VETS coordinator and veteran Juan Garcia, left, with Supervisor Katrina Foley and state Sen. and veteran Josh Newman.
U.S. VETS coordinator and veteran Juan Garcia, from left, with O.C. Supervisor Katrina Foley and state Sen. and veteran Josh Newman cut a cake honoring the U.S. Army’s 248 birthday.
(Courtesy of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley’s office)

Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Irvine Police Department explorers demonstrated the proper folding of the national standard.

The American flag is not just a flag — several rules surround its display and disposal. If the banner is flown overnight, it must be illuminated. If faded or tattered, it may be handed over to a local fire department or veterans organizations for retirement.

If displayed alongside other flags, it should be positioned to the viewer’s right. Alternatively, if it is hung vertically, its blue stars (also called the union) should be on the viewer’s left.

“When you’re out among flags, it just feels good and patriotic,” Foley said. “It reminds you what America stands for — it’s a place where people can live with freedom and be who they want.”

A field of 248 flags at Irvine's Mason Park represent the 248th birthday of the U.S. Army, which formed in 1775.
(Courtesy of Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley’s office)
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