Saturday, June 22, 2024

Rotary’s Salute to the Red, White, and Blue

Flags on the Avenue celebrate and honor our veterans, our country’s freedoms and patriotism.

For the first time in nearly 30 years, the placing of flags along Orange Avenue by Coronado Rotarians had to be canceled for Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023 because of the weather.

Doug Weisbarth, Rotary Flags Committee Chair, sent the following a message:

“It is with a sad heart we are canceling ‘putting up the flags’ tomorrow for Martin Luther King, Jr. This will be the first time ever that we have been rained out since we started our flag program. Rain is predicted to continue falling until about noon tomorrow, and the center medians are flooded…It’s a tough call to make. 

I’m sorry.”

Flags on the Avenue video by KCMS (Coronado Middle School students; teacher Amy Steward):

For Coronado, where this close-knit community treasures its military heritage, waking up to see flags blowing in the wind while enjoying them during milestone holidays is very meaningful. Smiles, waves and car honks greet Rotary crews as they place American flags mounted on poles along Orange Avenue’s center median.

Beginning at the Ferry Landing at 7 am, the Rotary Club’s white trailer truck and a Coronado police escort travel down the Avenue. The convoy, complete with patriotic music, accompanies Rotary crew members. At Orange and Churchill Place, the final two flags are posted. The group gathers to recite the Flag Salute. Rotarian Tom Mitchell then shares some history about the national holiday being recognized that day. A Rotary crew along with its trailer and a police escort return later that afternoon to take down the flags, storing them until the next holiday or special event.

Rotarian Tom Mitchell sharing history about the national holiday being recognized that day.

Flags are displayed on 12 holidays each year. They include: Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day,  Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day (9/11), Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Pearl Harbor Day.

Rotary flag crew with Police Chief Chuck Kaye.

Coronado Rotary’s Flags On The Avenue Program started with a person with an idea and a service club with a purpose. In 1994 Rotary President Bob Watson, came up with the idea to have Coronado honor national holidays.

Creating the flag holders.
Flag holders ready for planting.
Original truck and flags team.

Weisbarth chairs the Flags Committee (this year there are 73 members) and also co-chairs the Flags Working Committee with Rotarian Bill Gise. The Working Committee is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of  180 flags, the flag holes, and the flag trailers as well as purchasing 20 new replacement flags each year. Gise is in charge of the flags trailer maintenance.

There were challenges along the way from 1994 to 2023, but thanks to the knowledge and flexibility of the Rotary program’s leaders and the support of the community and the City, necessary changes have made it possible for the program to continue. Weisbarth gave an example pertaining to the months during the COVID pandemic, “Typically we have the police volunteers follow the flag trailer to make sure nobody drives into it and hits the workers. But during the pandemic lockdown the police volunteers were all furloughed.” Weisbarth was able to have a Rotary Mini Crew place the flags on the median, this time with an active duty police escort. “Everyone was socially distanced and in good spirits.”

“I am so proud of our long standing tradition,” said Coronado Rotary President LuAnn Miller. “Our members, along with family and friends, proudly place the 180 flags along the median early mornings on the designated days and take the flags down before sunset. This is a tradition that our club is greatly honored to supports for our community and will for many years to come.”

Coronado Rotary Flags on the Avenue – Honoring America’s Veterans


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