Fifty people, or thereabouts, turned out at the crack of dawn --- well not quite, but close --- at Veterans Memorial Park Tuesday morning to observe Flag Day, anniversary of the date in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as our national flag.
Representatives of the Russell and Chariton American Legion posts, sponsors of the program, were on hand to raise a Betsy Ross flag to full height, then lower it to half-staff in honor of the 49 victims of Sunday's shooting in Orlando.
This young woman, representing Chariton Girl Scouts, did a highly credible job with the National Anthem.
And Melody Allen was on hand to read the story of Betsy Ross, concluding (spoiler alert) with acknowledgement that the lore surrounding Mrs. Ross and her flag is entirely undocumented.
Stephen Sundquist read President Woodrow Wilson's 1916 proclamation establishing Flag Day as a national day of commemoration.
And quite frankly I've forgotten what Roger Blunk, commander of Russell Legionnaries, read. Sorry.
Girl Scouts led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ann Dotts was there to draw the name of Geneva Wilson as winner of a quilt that she had created in honor of her late husband, Korean War veteran Gordon Dotts, then donated as raffle prize for a Veterans Memorial Park fund-raiser.
Boy Scouts closed out the program by demonstrating how they dispose of worn out U.S. flags brought to the Legion Hall by their owners, considering each to determine if it is eligible for retirement, then consigning it respectfully to flames.
Then we all retired to the Legion Hall for lemonade and cookies --- and to view a couple of vintage flags I'd brought from the Lucas County Historical Society collection.
It was a peaceful, pleasant, meaningful and non-confrontational start to the day in these troublesome times. We need more of that.