Posted in Get Connected

What’s in a Flag

Thirty-two years ago, I was on my way to Brainerd from Moorhead. I drove past an enormous rock on a hillside that had been painted and repainted ad nauseam to announce any number of celebrations (including a tribute to the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin in 1988. To this day, I can’t see the rock without hearing the song in my head.)

Anyway, on that particular June day, I sped past the rock, now white with “Marry me, Jody” painted across it in black letters. When I finally realized it was a message for me, I pulled over to the side of the road. In the shadow of the rock, Jeff asked me, “Do you know what today is?”

Nope. I was young and dumb and the internet didn’t exist yet.

Jeff proceeded to enlighten me. “Today is Flag Day and it’s my parent’s anniversary. It’s also the day I asked you to marry me.” (Spoiler alert: Jeff took my hands in his and knelt down on one knee beside that rock. I said yes.)

Needless to say, June 14th has always been an important date to me, but in reverse order. Proposal. In-law’s anniversary. Flag Day.

According to my (internet) research, nobody knows the exact origin of flags, though one thing is clear: flags have always been used as a form of communication. Whether declaring victory (or surrender), showing alliances, staking out land claims, or signaling quarantines, flags have proved to be one of the easiest ways individuals or groups can convey messages to each other, particularly over a long distance.

On the battlefield, over seas, and to the peaks of Everest, these simple cloth flags speak volumes through the colors and patterns that adorn them.

  • I stand by my country.
  • Beware, matey, pirates be comin’.
  • I came, I saw, I conquered my fear.
Tribute to Pipestone graduate William H. Genaust, photographer of Iow Jima’s iconic flag raising

Our own American flag represents valor, innocence, and justice. Every Flag Day, I make a point of driving past courthouses to see the beautiful displays of red, white, and blue that promise individual freedom through the unity of all. Something about seeing the stars and stripes en masse fills me with hope.

It is the embodiment of our past and the battles we have fought. It is the mistakes we have made and the promises we have kept. It is about where we are now and where we want to be, or rather, who we want to be. Our flag has undergone twenty-seven official versions. As a country, we continue to undergo transformation on the way to our perfection.

As such, flying the American flag holds responsibility and requires adherence to certain guidelines. It’s not always easy depending on how you choose to display your flag, but the effort is greatly appreciated by service members and their families who have fought for and under our flag. To learn what flying the American flag entails, access the flag flying calendar here and never miss an opportunity to share your patriotism the right way!

Across our nation, other flags will be flown this June for Pride Month. Since its debut in 1978, the rainbow flag has become a symbol of the global fight for equality and acceptance. This June 14th, the Pipestone Human Rights Commission will celebrate Pride Month with a Pride Picnic at Southwest Park from 4-8pm. To learn more about Pride Month or read books by LGBTQ+ authors, stop by the library and check out our June display.

For the remainder of 2023, Meinders Community Library is following iRead’s Summer Reading Program theme: Find Your Voice. We are using this nationwide theme to highlight stories that reflect our unique and diverse community. In addition to Pride Month, other June highlights include Father’s Day (June 18th), Juneteenth (June 19th), and National Great Outdoors Month.

Celebrate with the National Park Service on the second Saturday of June for National Get Outdoors Day.

Learn more about our newest Federal Holiday during the Juneteenth Celebration at Leon Moore Park from 3-8pm on June 19th.

Attend the Pipestone Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored Water Tower Festival Parade at 10am on June 24th to see a beautiful display of American flags, as well as Cartoons on Parade.

don’t worry, be happy~ jody


Meinders Community Library is a combined school and public library that serves the residents of Pipestone County in Southwestern Minnesota. It is part of the Plum Creek Library System.