Vets honored, friends mingle and mysteries abound

By Linda Emley

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the 6th Annual Veteran’s
Appreciation Picnic was held at
the Ray County Museum. The weather
was perfect and over 100 people joined us for
lunch, music, fellowship and a patriotic program.
I’d like to share the highlights
so this day will always
be preserved in history.
The fun actually started
a few days before when we
had a crew of eight people
cleaning the museum and
getting the yard ready for the
picnic. The next step was my
Friday night shopping trip
for enough food to feed an
army. It always looks easier
on paper than when you’re actually putting three
cases of water in your shopping cart. Then comes
the part where you have to figure out how many
packages of hotdog buns you need for 72 hot
dogs and 32 polish sausage. I later found out all
this didn’t really matter because we had to send
the troops out for more supplies twice before the
chow line closed down. We need to thank Bruce
Taylor, Commissioner Allen Dale and Commissioner
Mike Twyman for grilling all the hot dogs
and hamburgers. We also need to thank DaVona
Blyth, Michelle Dale and Karen Stigall for keeping
the food line running.
Since I’m passing out notes of thanks, I would
like to tell my Historical Society Board members
how much I appreciate their support in setting up
the picnic, bringing food and cleaning up. Those
who assisted were Bruce Taylor, David Blyth,
Mac Proffitt, Bruce Farlow, Hal Middleton and
Jan Jackson.
Historical Society President David Blyth presided
over the program which officially started
at 11:30 a.m., when we had the flag-raising ceremony
preformed by Larry Brune, one of our
veterans. Mike Shane gave the invocation and
shared a few words about the importance of honoring
our veterans. Mike was followed by Clarence
Hayden playing music as the crowd lined
up for lunch. The Lexington Symphonic Band
started playing at noon and everyone enjoyed its
wonderful patriotic songs.
The highlight of our program was when Will
Talbert, Hal Middleton and Mike Shane read the
names of Ray Countians who gave their lives
defending freedom in America. They recognized
soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq
and Afghanistan. A bell was rung after each name
was read for one of our fallen soldiers. Several
people told me they heard names of friends from
their school days, so these soldiers have not been
One of my favorite parts of the day was visiting
with old friends and meeting new friends.
Everyone has a tale to share and I heard many
wonderful stories. One of them was from a local
man’s family history that tells about Butch Cassidy
surviving s shootout in South America and
living out his final days in Utah. I promise to
share this story when I get all the details. I’m
sorry I didn’t get to personally greet everyone,
but we had volunteers working to make sure
that everyone got to tour our wonderful museum
and have a fun day on the hill. Those helping
inside the museum were Jenne Sue Layman,
Lisa Smalley, Hal Middleton and Carter Rogers.
I hope everyone will come back soon and not
wait for a special event to stop by and see us at
the museum.
After the picnic was over, I was standing in
the front yard with a few friends and I asked if
anyone knew why we have five flag poles. Since
no one seemed to believe me, we all walked over
to the fence and to our surprise we counted six
flag poles. After a brief discussion it was decided
we didn’t have a clue why there were six poles,
but we started making plans for what we thought
should be the six flags. Old glory and the Missouri
state flag get the first two poles, but we are
still working on the other four flags.
The six flag poles were still on my mind
when Sunday morning rolled around, so I asked
one of my friends what they thought. They suggested
that maybe six countries had flown flags
over Missouri. We both laughed and thought of
the “Six Flags” amusement parks. After some
research, I still didn’t have an answer so I call
my friend Steve Hitchcock. As usual, he had
some answers for me. The only state that has had
six flags flying over it is Texas and that is where
the “Six Flag” amusement park franchise started.
Missouri has only had three flags. We started
out with a French flag, Spain took over then the
French got us back and we finally ended up with
old glory in 1803.
Hitch also added that he and Mac Proffitt had
the same discussion a few years ago when they
were working at the museum on a work day. At
that time, there was a U.S. flag, a Missouri flag,
a bicentennial flag, a French flag and a Spanish
flag. The last flag was a real surprise because it
was a Tennessee state flag. Many Ray County
settlers came from Tennessee, but I still don’t
understand why it was flying on our flag pole.
The Bicentennial Flag was retired because it was
a treasure that could not be replaced and over the
years the other flags followed the same path and
finally we are down to one flag, “Old Glory.”
Sometime in the near future, we hope to have
six flags flying on the hill again, but it’s still up
for discussion what they will be. I’ll be sure and
let everyone know the rest of this story as soon as
they are all hoisted up our flag poles and added to
the pages of our Ray County history.
Write Linda at

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