Veteran takes action and raises Old Glory

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 Messenger photo by Rick Palsgrove
 For the first time in many years, Old Glory once again flew from the old flagpole in Groveport’s Blacklick Park on Memorial Day thanks to the effort of Groveport resident Mack Harris.

On Memorial Day, Mack Harris looked out his back door at the vacant flagpole in Groveport’s Blacklick Park and decided he had to do something about it.

He walked over to the park with an American flag he received from a veterans’ organization, which he normally flies on the front of his home, and raised it on the old flagpole in Blacklick Park.

"It was the right thing to do," said Harris, a United States Air Force veteran. "That flagpole on this important day was now dressed up with a flag. A flag raised in a public park has substance to it. It provides a focal point."

Harris noted that when he walked into the park the morning of Memorial Day to raise the flag there was a group of people already in the park talking, laughing and enjoying the holiday.

"They saw me walk to the pole with the flag and when I raised it there was a hush in the park," said Harris. "The people in the park knew and recognized the importance of the flag being raised."

Harris said flying the flag reminds people what the country stands for and the sight of this powerful symbol is retained by citizens.

"It’s something kids remember when they see it," said Harris.

Blacklick Park is Groveport’s oldest public park and it is believed the old flagpole was erected in the park as a 4-H project long ago. Originally the pole sat in the center of a green patch of grass that was encircled by a driveway. The driveway has long since crumbled and has been overgrown with grass. A flag has not regularly flown from the old pole for quite some time.

The old flagpole is a bit wobbly, but, despite its age, Harris said the pole’s rope, pulley, and cleat worked perfectly when he raised the flag.

Harris said he’d like to see a flagpole with a flag flying in every one of Groveport’s parks. Currently Groveport Park, Veterans Park, and Blacklick Park have flagpoles, but Degenhart Park and Cruiser Park do not. He said citizen volunteers could be enlisted to raise the flags in the parks.

"It’s something we the people of the village should do," said Harris. "Maybe volunteers could commit to raising the flag in the parks on holidays and the first day of each month if not every day."

"I think it’s a good suggestion," Councilman Ed Rarey said at Groveport Village Council’s May 27 meeting. "I’d like to see us address having flags and flagpoles in all of our parks. It’s worth looking into."

Harris said he hopes the idea of adding the flagpoles and flags to the park blossoms with village officials and spurs volunteers.

"If all else fails, I’ll continue to do what I started today with the flagpole in Blacklick Park," said Harris.

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