The Kiwanis Club of Cartersville wants local business to express their patriotic spirit by participating in the club's flag program, which involves placement of American flags on sidewalks in front of the businesses throughout the year during flag holidays.
"Participants sign a flag contract, [the Kiwanis Club of Cartersville] puts the [flags] out, we pick them up, and it's $40 for one year or you can do five years for $150," said Kiwanis Club member Linda Denham. "And all this money goes toward the scholarships we give through the Etowah Scholarship Foundation."
The flags are flown on 8-foot poles on Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, 9/11 and Veteran's Day as well as special local and national event days at no extra cost.
Denham said evidence the program needs more participation became visible to her last month.
"We've really neglected to work that flag program like we should," Denham said. "When I was downtown on Memorial Day, I looked down Main Street and up Public Square and there were very few flags and I thought 'Oh my what a difference, in the times past, every store had a flag.'"
She said the program is not only a way to honor veterans, but also strengthens the community as a whole.
"Flying our flags is one way our community can really come together ... and I think people would [participate] if they knew who [organized the program]."
Denham said the tradition started as a volunteer program spearheaded by the former president of a local bank.
"[The president] actually purchased the first flags, they were cotton flags on wooden poles and he talked the fire department into putting them out," Denham said. "Then the flags started getting stolen and the city didn't have the funds to buy new flags, so they ended up getting stored in the city hall basement and the president of the Kiwanis Club at that time, Charles Bradley, rescued those flags and we started selling the flag contract. The Kiwanis Club keeps the flags in good repair, and now we've replaced ... the cotton flags with larger nylon flags."
She said the club recently has seen more interested businesses, but wants more to become involved.
"We're hoping to have a lot more flags out on Flag Day, which is June 14, and maybe by the Fourth of July we can have everybody in town with a flag," Denham said. "It's a beautiful sight to see all those flags downtown."
Denham said businesses wishing to participate can do so by calling Denham Chiropractic Center, 770-386-2598, or by visiting the Kiwanis Club of Cartersville's Facebook page and leaving a comment requesting to be contacted.