Spring and summer bring a slew of patriotic holidays, with National Flag Day right in the middle. For some, it might seem like just another holiday, but to the Weber State University Veteran Affairs Office, Flag Day hits close to home.
“Any holiday that benefits veterans or the flag or America in general is important to our office and people that served in the military,” said social work major Jennifer Carver.
Carver, along with several other students, works in the Veteran Affairs Office, located in the Student Services Building. She has also served five years in the Army and completed two duties in Iraq in a communications unit.
The Veteran Affairs Office offers advice and counseling to the estimated 700 WSU students who are veterans or currently serving in the military. It provides information on registration, admissions, career and academic paths, and paying for education.
“We have a lot of outlets for veterans, even if they’re not getting a GI Bill,” Carver said. “We can recommend them to Veterans Upward Bound, which offers tutors. We can find them sources to help them pay for school. They can come in here and hang out and eat their lunches. We have open doors for all those serving and who have served.”
Because of their military backgrounds, the employees in the Veteran Affairs Office are among the few who don’t let Flag Day slip by unnoticed. For them, Old Glory is a reminder of why they chose the path of service.
“Not only does the flag represent a symbol of patriotism as well as liberty, but it’s something that we would die for as individuals who have served in the armed forces, or are still serving as well,” said Veteran Affairs employee Nick Nava, who has also served one tour in Iraq.
National Flag Day, while not a federally observed holiday, goes back to the root of America’s beginnings, when the flag was designed with 13 stars. It commemorates the adoption of the flag by the United States, which happened June 14, 1777. In 1916, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson established June 14 as the official Flag Day. Forty-four years later, on July 4, 1960, America adopted the 50-star flag used today.
The flag is probably one of the most recognized symbols in America. Any replica of the flag that is produced must adhere to very specific measurements and even colors. But what makes the flag so iconic is the history of America and the feelings it evokes.
“Well, the American flag is an iconic symbol of freedom,” Carver said. “Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, background or religious preference, it stands for the same thing.”
Sheila Simko, another Veteran Affairs employee and a WSU alumna, comes from a long line of military service. Photos of her family members in uniform adorn the wall behind her desk.
“Flag Day is my family,” Simko said. “I come from a family of veterans, so the flag means to me freedom and their service and all they’ve done. It represents those who keep the flag flying today.”