My Special Flag
The war in Europe was over. The Russians decided that they should have a victory parade in Prague. Not to be outdone, the Americans decided to have a victory parade in Pilsen. The American High Command decided that the 2nd Ranger Battalion should lead the parade. The problem was we didn't have a flag. Our Commander Officer, Colonel Arnold, ordered me to find a flag - not an easy assignment. No American unit wanted to give us a flag, so my only alternative was to have one made. I searched the city for someone who would sew a flag, but no one had the cloth.
Sergeant Yates and I went into Prague to find someone. We drove up and down those streets with no success. Years of war and rationing had taken their toll. Finally, we found a seamstress shop operated by two ladies who were honored to sew the flag. Working all that day and night, they completed the flag by the time we returned the next day. They refused to take money for their work.
It was a glorious flag. We carried it proudly in the victory parade and were the envy of all other units.
When the parade was over and we returned to the bivouac area, I retrieved the flag from the men who carried it, folded it properly, placed it in my foot locker, and brought it home.
I have flown the flag on many occasions and have told its history to many groups. That flag is my most precious possession. It is a constant reminder to me of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many of my friends and fellow soldiers in the 2nd Ranger Battalion.
And, here are some fun facts about July 4 from the US Census Bureau. Happy Independence Day!
The Fourth of July 2010On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks and backyard barbecues across the country.
2.5 millionIn July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation.
The nation's estimated population on this July Fourth.
$3.0 millionIn 2009, the dollar value of U.S. imports of American flags. The vast majority of this amount ($2.5 million) was for U.S. flags made in China.
$920,277Dollar value of U.S. flags exported in 2009. Mexico was the leading customer, purchasing $333,882 worth.
$301.5 millionAnnual dollar value of shipments of fabricated flags, banners and similar emblems by the nation's manufacturers, according to the latest published economic census data.
$209 millionThe value of fireworks imported from China in 2009, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($217 million). U.S. exports of fireworks, by comparison, came to just $42.9 million in 2009, with the United Arab Emirates purchasing more than any other country ($14.5 million).
$331.4 millionThe value of U.S. manufacturers' shipments of fireworks and pyrotechnics (including flares, igniters, etc.) in 2007.
Patriotic-Sounding Place Names
31Number of places nationwide with "liberty" in their name. The most populous one as of July 1, 2008, is Liberty, Mo. (30,568). Iowa, with four, has more of these places than any other state: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty and West Liberty.
- Thirty places have "eagle" in their name -- after the majestic bird that serves as our national symbol. (Places include cities, towns, villages and census-designated places.) The most populous such place is Eagle Pass, Texas, with 26,668 residents.
- Eleven places have "independence" in their name. The most populous of these is Independence, Mo., with 110,440 residents.
- Five places adopted the name "freedom." Freedom, Calif., with 6,000 residents, has the largest population among these. (This population total is as of the 2000 Census; no population estimate is available for Freedom because it is a census designated place.)
- There is one place named "patriot" -- Patriot, Ind., with a population of 189.
- And what could be more fitting than spending the Fourth of July in a place called "America"? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, population 27,064.