The American flag stood at the center of attention during annual Flag Day ceremonies at Waterfront Stadium and the American Legion Post 28 as members of the Grand Haven Elks Club, American Legion, VFW, Boy Scouts and U.S. Coast Guard joined together to honor it.
Following the waterfront ceremony, the American Legion conducted a proper flag-disposal ceremony.
The post's commander, Ron Bauer, spoke about the ways America’s flag differs from other countries. Instead of portraying a royal family, political party or religion, the American flag encompasses all types of citizens.
"The flag represents us," he said. "It represents all American citizens."
Mike Lankes, chairman of Flag Day events for the Grand Haven Elks Club, said he gets emotional about honoring the flag. The Grand Haven man said he developed a deep appreciation for the flag when he traveled during his time in the U.S. Navy.
Lankes said it upsets him when an athlete or community member stands during the national anthem but doesn't place his or her hand over their heart.
“We need to stand up every time that flag comes by and put our hand over our heart,” he said.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.