The Stars and Stripes will appear along city streets Saturday before sunrise, as if planted by some mysterious flag elves by dark of night.
By sundown, the flags will be gone.
And too many Americans will see them and say, “Is this a holiday?”
Saturday is Flag Day, the 237th anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. flag.
The day does not carry the gravity of a memorial, or the bombast of an Independence Day. It’s not even a formal work holiday.
It is simply a birthday party for the flag, a time to appreciate the banner itself and to reflect on the courage and fears of the Second Continental Congress founding a new nation.
Today, the day is remembered mainly through the dedication of civic clubs and scouting organizations, and their volunteers who set alarm clocks to wake up before dawn and line the city streets with red, white and blue.
In Arlington, about 100 volunteers from Sunrise Rotary Club plus two Boy Scout troops will load up 1,000 full-size flags, post them throughout the city and then gather them at sundown.
Most civic clubs ask for donations of $25 or $30 to deliver flags five or six holidays a year. (Arlington also flies the flag Sept. 11.)
To promote American patriotism, the volunteers give up sleeping late or taking weekend trips.
In Fort Worth, the Breakfast Optimist Club of East Fort Worth (375 flags) and the Sertoma Club of Fort Worth (200) are among the civic organizations also up early.
Sadly, several of the volunteer coordinators say our devotion to Flag Day is waning.
Every year, surprised callers ask, “Hey! There’s a flag in my yard. What holiday is this?”
It’s a day with few bands and fireworks, but much to remember.