A publication of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

August 2001/September 2001

So Proudly They Waved

Flag Day at the Vermont Veterans Home

John Miner spoke at ceremonies that made his long-held dream a reality. Gov. Dean and Gen. Martha Rainville, commander of the Vermont National Guard, are right of Miner. Earle Hollings, commandant of the Vermont Veterans HOme, is at far right.

In the evening, the uniformity of the American flags was replaced with the variety of the fifty state flags. Most were donated by VVA State Councils.

The spirit of America is alive in Bennington, Vermont, and VVA’s Vermont State Council President John Miner knows how to mine that patriotic vein.

Miner wanted to let those who drove by the Vermont Veterans Home know about the important people who reside there. He envisioned a border of flags lining the long driveway to the home, one representing each of the fifty states and the territories of the United States and heralding the heroic service of the residents of the country’s second-oldest Veterans Home.

After three years of dogged perseverance, Miner was able to convince others of his vision. On June 14, more than two hundred people gathered at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington to celebrate Flag Day and dedicate the new flag poles. Despite the 93-degree heat, veterans representing the five branches of service and the Merchant Marine gathered to raise the 55 flags. Joining the Veterans Home residents and staff were high school students, local officials and politicians, and members of area veterans service organizations and civic groups.

Colors were presented by VVA Chapter 601 Color Guard. At 2:30, the Mount Anthony High School Band played "God Bless America," and veterans paired with high school students to raise the flags. "Take a minute to look around,’’ Miner said. "Look at our youth, our leaders of tomorrow, our veterans of tomorrow, and our veterans of today. How proud we are of who we are and where we came from."

"The Star Spangled Banner" played as the flags were raised. Jack Grace, a 101-year-old veteran of World War I, raised a flag with Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Watching the fifty American flags flutter in the breeze, Gen. Martha Rainville, commander of the Vermont National Guard, said: "Our colors continue to watch over us during time of war and time of peace, a symbol of hope and perseverance."

Gov. Dean remarked on the teamwork, "The most important thing is that this project was put together by a bunch of different veterans groups working together. They worked hard; they put up money; they put up an amazing effort--all under the extraordinary leadership of John Miner, who does not take 'no’ for an answer from anybody, including me."

Contributors to the project included the American Legion, VFW, BPOE, FOE, Wal-Mart, William Dailey & Sons, Jerome Construction, other paternal organizations, and private citizens.

Earle Hollings, Commandant of the Vermont Veterans Home, noted: "Today is about community. Today is about the joy of being an American. This is a great day to get together and remember that freedom is not free." Adm. Warren Hamm, president of the Vermont Veterans Home board of trustees, delivered a special "well done" to Miner and his crew.

In the evening, VVA members and friends returned to take down Old Glory and replace it with all the state flags, most of which were donated by VVA State Councils to the Vermont Veterans Home. On September 21--POW/MIA Remembrance Day--fifty POW/MIA flags will fly in Bennington.


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