Reno residents salute U.S. flag with parade

RENO – There was no lack of star-spangled spirit in Reno on Sunday as the community gathered together in celebration of Flag Day.

“When I see our flag, especially one of the really big ones rippling in a parade, it reminds me how proud I am to be born in America,” said Barb Handschumacher, as she addressed a crowd gathered in front of the Reno Community Center.

Flag Day takes place June 14 and commemorates the day Congress adopted the American flag in 1777.

Sponsored by the Reno Lions Club, the annual celebration might be the only area celebration of the holiday, said Reno Lions Club President Janice Arnold.

Recent Reno transplant Dick Poole said that he does not remember any Flag Day celebrations in Columbus where he lived until recently.

“This is my first Flag Day celebration and it is great,” said Poole.

Sunday’s event began with a parade which started at 3 p.m. on Summit Drive and wound its way down Morningside Drive before coming to a stop at the Reno Community Center for a flag-raising ceremony, veterans recognition service and community picnic.

The parade featured fire trucks, a Washington County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, an ambulance, a lawn mower and other vehicles which had been festively decorated by community businesses and residents.

Though Shannon Cline, 39, and his family have attended the Flag Day parade for several years, this was their first time participating, he said.

“We just wanted to do something to show our support to the community and Flag Day,” said Cline, a Reno resident and owner of Reno Refinishing.

Cline and family wrapped their Polaris Ranger utility vehicle in red, white, and blue garlands, decked it out with flags and buntings, and had Cline’s daughter Molly and niece Madison, both 7, throw candy out the back.

The Clines’ basset hound Lola also got to ride along, and even got a special outfit for the occasion.

“We went to JoAnn’s and got her some American flag fabric and made her a scarf,” he said.

The Byrd family, former Reno residents who now live in Caldwell, appreciated the enthusiasm on Sunday.

“I think we’ve been to almost every one but maybe the first three,” said mom Mary Byrd.

The festivity is in its 19th year, according to Arnold.

Mary’s son Brian and husband Robert often drive their own decked-out golf cart in the parade. But the cart needs some maintenance before traversing the steep parade route, said Robert Byrd.

Since Brian Byrd, who enjoys showing off his patriotism, could not spruce up his golf cart with flag accessories this year, he spruced up himself – complete with a flag shirt and vest, flag glasses, flag hat, a light-up flag necklace, and star-shaped deely bopper.

“There’s not many of these type celebrations around. It’s just a good day to recognize our vets and what our flag stands for,” said Robert Byrd.

The event marked the perfect time to christen a trio of newly installed flag poles at the Reno Community Center. Directly following the parade, a crisp new American flag was hoisted up the center pole for the first time since the poles were installed two weeks ago, said Arnold.

The event was a great way to spend Father’s Day, said Marietta resident Shane Farley, 25.

“It’s good because it’s a family thing and we’re celebrating something bigger than myself,” said Farley, whose father is a veteran.

Farley, who counts Dough Boyz Pizza employee as one of his three jobs, was a hero to his 3- and 5-year-old kids who got to throw candy out of the back of the pizzeria’s parade vehicle.

“I try to teach them the Pledge of Allegiance,” said Farley. “My 5-year-old is the only one who can say it right now, but we’re working on it.”

The day was rounded out by a short ceremony honoring all the veterans in attendance and a community meal served inside the community center.