The Flag Day Essay winners march in the parade.

Anaheim honors flag and country at 23rd Annual Flag Day Celebration

By Brooklynn Wong

The Americana scene at Anaheim’s Pearson Park on Sunday was like one of days gone by—community members gathered for a patriotic cause, with bunting and full-sized flags adorning the homes in the area.

The City, in keeping with its tradition of commemorating Flag Day, put on its 23rd annual event in style. Flag Day 2018 itself is not until this Thursday, but the weekend-before event drew a large crowd.

A parade kicked off the afternoon, featuring students and local organizations.

A flag towers above the students marching in the parade at the 23rd annual Anaheim Flag Day Celebration.

Booths were set up around the commons, so people could obtain more information from City of Anaheim officials, the Boy Scouts, various branches of the military, and more.

Impersonators of Founding Fathers and soldiers from former eras wandered the park and were in high demand for photo-ops.

A George Washington lookalike drew a crowd of onlookers who wanted their photos taken with the beloved Founding Father.

A group of young men dressed as World War II-era soldiers roamed the park.

Dozens of flags lined the beautiful outskirts of the park, and there was one stretch that was lined not by the nation’s flag, but the flags of all fifty states.

Reporter Brooklynn Wong walks among the flag-lined walkway in Pearson Park.

A flag-lined walkway and pond set the scene in Pearson Park for Flag Day.

Entertainment was provided by The Darden Sisters, a local Alternative Americana group, as they sang patriotic songs, including an Armed Forces Medley, during which veterans of each branch were asked to stand when they heard their respective song. They had an old-timey sound that was perfect for the day.

Anaheim City Councilman Stephen Faessel then took the stage as Master of Ceremonies. Shay Tiettmeyer, a Girl Scout and student at Peter Marshall Elementary School, sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. An invocation was given by Pastor Nathan Zug, who serves as the Anaheim Police Department Chaplain.

The 9th Communications Battalion of Camp Pendleton presented the colors, and Commander Bill Reed of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Dapper Tappers, a young-at-heart group of tap dancers,  then provided some more entertainment, tapping in vintage military uniforms to songs honoring the various branches.

A short keynote speech was given by Bill Baltazar, a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, who now serves as President of the Inland Empire Chapter of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society. Baltazar brought a few other society members with him, and recognized each of them, telling their stories of heroism in various wars that earned them the prestigious honor.

The afternoon was rounded out with more entertainment, the recognition of the winners of the “What the American Flag Means to Me” student essay contest, which has been held every year as part of the festivities, and lingering over refreshments.

Anaheim has been hosting this celebration annually, ever since Sally Feldhaus, the wife of former Anaheim City Councilman and World War II Veteran Frank Feldhaus, instated it in 1996 as an effort to counteract what she saw as a move away from patriotism.

Flag Day first became a national holiday in 1916 under President Woodrow Wilson, and is celebrated on June 14 each year.

The celebration was filled with nostalgia, and Anaheim’s patriotism, on full display, was refreshing.

A George Washington lookalike greets a fan.

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