Nation's Shopping Malls Promoting Patriotism on Flag Day
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 13, 2006 She's a "grand ole flag," and she'll be waving at nearly 500 shopping malls across America on Flag Day, June 14, thanks to a celebration hosted by the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc.
Shopping centers are uniting in "An Old Glory*ous Celebration," aimed at promoting patriotism, supporting troops and veterans, and honoring the flag.
Since the celebration's Memorial Day kickoff, nearly 500,000 shoppers from shopping centers across the country have signed pledge cards saying they'll fly Old Glory on Flag Day, council officials said.
"This is a simple yet very powerful show of patriotism in communities across the nation," Michael P. Kercheval, of the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc., said. "With An Old Glory*ous Celebration, shopping centers are providing a forum for families, friends and co-workers to come together for an important patriotic holiday that should not be overlooked."
According to a May "Patriotism in America" poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, about 540 of the 1,200 adult respondents consider themselves more patriotic than in previous years. Nearly 90 percent of those polled said they considered themselves patriotic, with nearly 60 percent claiming to be "very patriotic."
To nurture that swell of patriotism, the council, supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and AMVETS, has worked with nearly 500 shopping centers across the country on events and activities that promote the goal of promoting patriotism and support of troops and veterans.
The events will vary with each center, though many will feature military bands and other performances honoring troops, past and present, and their families, council officials said.
For instance, the Mall of Abilene, Texas, will dedicate a sculpture, titled "Old Glory," to nearby Dyess Air Force Base troops serving overseas, according to the mall's Web site. It also will offer a patriotically themed art contest for children and opportunities to sign a support banner for the troops or win a U.S. flag that was flown over Iraq.
The East Gate Mall, in Cincinnati, Ohio, will offer patrons the chance to fly a flag on Flag Day and send a personal message of thanks to the troops. The cards will be displayed through Flag Day and then included in goodie boxes being sent to the troops.
East Gate Mall also will have personnel on hand to answer questions and sell T-shirts to benefit, in part, the April 9th Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in honor of the area's fallen military personnel and Army Sgt. Keith Matthew "Matt" Maupin.
Maupin is an area resident and the only soldier still missing from the war in Iraq. He was captured April 9, 2004.
For a full list of participating shopping centers, as well as information on the U.S. flag and how to honor it, visit the "A Old Glory*ous Celebration" Web site at www.oldgloryous.com.