Vandiver honors U.S. with flag dedication

Ashely Hardin and her grandfather, John Easterwood raise the American Flag while other members of the Vandiver community raise the military flags. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

VANDIVER – Residents of Vandiver joined together on the evening of Sept. 13 to dedicate flags in the city park and honor military members, both past and present.

Vandiver Civic Center and Park Board President Edna Weldon, her husband, Tony, and her daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Jonathon Hardin, donated five flagpoles, one for each branch of the military. Weldon’s father, John Easterwood, donated a 20-foot flagpole to carry the American flag.

“We started about a year ago,” Weldon said. “We had stick flags for the last four years. We felt the Lord leading us to get something better. It took a year to buy them and give them to our community.”

Shelby County Commissioner Rick Shepherd, who represents District 8, attended the flag dedication and offered a few words to those gathered.

“This is the biggest honor I could have and it means more to me that anything,” Shepherd said. “After years in the military, the American flag means a lot to me.”

Pete Gay led the gathering of about 50 Vandiver residents through a moment of silence for fallen soldiers, the Pledge of Allegiance and a rendition of “God Bless America.”

“We dedicate the flags to all Americans since the beginning who have fought for our country,” Gay said. “In remembrance of 9/11 10 years ago, this flag flew at half-staff all day last Sunday for the people who lost their lives to terrorism at 9/11.”