GUIZERIX: Local group honors our Grand Ole Flag in a grand way

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, July 5, 2023

By the time you read this, the fireworks will have ceased and the remnants of another July Fourth will be fading.

But what remains is the unending emblem of our freedom: The American flag.

I had the privilege of speaking with Norm Francingues, Adjutant of the Army Navy Club and Flag Committee Chairman, last week. Aside from the lively conversation that comes with interviews, what Mr. Francingues provided to me was a reminder of what makes our country so remarkable.

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The Army Navy Club of Vicksburg, now in its 89th year, sponsors a quarterly event on the Old Highway 80 Bridge in which an American Flag is hoisted more than 200 feet above the Mississippi River in honor or in memory of an American servicemember. (If you haven’t read page A3 of the Wednesday paper, I encourage you to do so.)

Aside from the remarkable nature of the flag raisings — as far as Francingues knows, this is the only American Flag flown over the Mississippi River — the event symbolizes something far more precious to Americans. Every flag flown over the bridge represents someone who fought and possibly died for their country.

It’s a commitment I’m not sure I’d readily make. It’s one my husband devoted six years of active duty to in the United States Navy. And I have the utmost respect for those who, like my husband, answer the call to serve, even when they know all the risks.

The flag is not some novelty to gaze upon. The flag is an emblem that sends fear blazing into the hearts of our enemies. The flag is a sign of hope for the American Dream.

It is our freedom, a tangible marker for our way of life as U.S. citizens.

Perhaps Francingues said it best when he quoted former Flag Committee Chairman Lewis DeCell: “The American flag is more than a thing of beauty. It’s a thing of honor.”