REALTORS® Install Long-anticipated Flag Pole
Dedicated to Veterans
NWMLS, KIRKLAND, WA, July 3, 2014. Resurrecting an effort that began in 2003 when Steven Wayne served as president of SEATTLE KingCounty REALTORS®), 2014 president Larry Christensen led a three-month campaign to raise funds to install a flag pole at the REALTOR® building in Bellevue.
During ceremonies held June 13 - the day before Flag Day - Christensen announced the new, highly-visible 40-foot pole would be dedicated to U.S. veterans. Situated on a hill near the I-405 and I-90 interchange, the pole is visible to an estimated 200,000 motorists each day.
Four volunteers from the Honor Guard at VFW Post 2995 in Redmond conducted an official flag-folding ceremony to commemorate the occasion. Jim Weaver, founder of the post's Honor Guard, led the ceremony, explaining the significance of each fold (see box).
Weaver noted less than 7 percent of the country's population has ever served in the military, but reminded the audience that those who take an oath of service essentially "write a blank check to give their lives if necessary."
The program also featured a tribute to military personnel by SKCR CEO Russell Hokanson and remarks by representatives of the Veterans Association of Real Estate Professionals (VARep).
Jordan Voss, VARep's Washington State director, said the organization is dedicated to increasing sustainable homeownership and financial literacy education for the low-to-moderate income active-military and veteran communities. Formed in 2011, the nonprofit group's members work within all sectors of the real estate, housing, and financial-services industries. Like several other states, the local chapter is planning a Veterans Housing Summit.
In his remarks, Hokanson singled out a distant relative, Navy Cmdr Robert J. Flynn, a POW in a Communist Chinese prison during the Vietnam War, who died earlier this year at age 76. He was one of only two American servicemen known to have been held by the Chinese during the war.
In Vietnam, Cmdr Flynn was a bombardier-navigator when he was shot down on a bombing mission. The aviator suffered severe spinal injuries and was tortured and held in a 12x16-foot cell in solitary confinement during much of his captivity. Following his release, the POW received a bachelor's degree from the University of Washington and held command positions, retiring in 1985 with the rank of commander.
"The REALTOR® flagpole will serve as a reminder of the measure of devotion our service members have," Hokanson remarked.
More than 100 REALTORS® and affiliates contributed more than $13,000 to the campaign during Christensen's recent blitz to reach the campaign goal. He said contributions are still being accepted, noting those who donate $150 or more will have an inscribed brick installed at the base of the pole. The first brick to be laid will be in appreciation to the veterans and the services of VFW Post 2995.
Meaning of Flag-Folding Program
The flag-folding ceremony represents the same religious principles on which our great country was originally founded.
The portion of the flag denoting honor is the canton of blue containing the stars representing states our veterans served in uniform. The canton field of blue dresses from left to right and is inverted only when draped as a pall on the casket of a veteran who has served our country honorably in uniform. In the U.S. Armed Forces, at the ceremony of retreat, the flag is lowered, folded in a triangle fold and kept under watch throughout the night as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The next morning it is brought out and, at the ceremony of reveille, run aloft as a symbol of our belief in the resurrection of the body.
Symbols for the Folds of the Flag
The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.
The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.
The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks, and who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.
The fourth fold represents our weaker nature; as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace, as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance.
The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right, but it is still our country, right or wrong."
The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.
The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor our mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.
The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great have been molded.
The 10th fold is a tribute to father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since he or she was first born.
The 11th fold, in the eyes of Hebrew citizens, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The 12th fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost. When the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our national motto, "In God We Trust."
After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it has the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington and the sailors and Marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones and were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the U.S. Armed Forces, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today. The source and the date of origin of this Flag Folding Procedure is unknown, however some sources attribute it to the Gold Star Mothers of America while others to an Air Force chaplain stationed at the United States Air Force Academy. Others consider it to be an urban legend. It is provided as a patriotic service to all.
From: The American Legion