Volunteers at South Miami Lutheran Church have dedicated their time to cutting several American flags apart and the act was anything but anti-American.
Their mission is to the contrary. To show their gratitude for military men and women, the church has cut embroidered stars from old, worn flags to send to them for Memorial Day.
Following the guidelines of the nationwide project, Stars for Our Troops, the church asked the community for flags that were tattered or faded in color. After receiving 10 flags, they removed the blue cantons and donated what remained to local Boy Scout troops to retire.
Carefully, the volunteers would cut away hundreds of stars and place them in small plastic bags with an explanation that reads, “I am part of our American flag that has flown over a home in the U.S.A. I can no longer fly. The sun and winds have caused me to become tattered and torn. Please carry me as a reminder that you are not forgotten.”
Community service director Fiona Ehlies says they have sent 50 of these bags to those serving overseas to distribute to their colleagues. In addition, they sent over 100 packages to veterans in time for Memorial Day.
Ehlies, who brought the project to the church, said the concept appealed to her because she wanted to find a unique way to show support for the troops.
“I was looking for a project like this instead of ones where I am always asking congregants for money,” Ehlies said. “This project allowed us to use the worn flags, put in a little time and acknowledge those who have done so much for us.”
Parish administrator Mary Pohl participated and says it has been rewarding to acknowledge the thankless service of these men and women, a few of whom have close ties to the church.
“It is important that the troops know they are not forgotten,” Pohl said. “This is something they can keep with them.”
At the service Sunday, the group will also distribute stars to any veterans who attend. They hope to continue the project for Veterans Day and throughout the year.
“As long as we get names for people to send to, the project will be ongoing,” Ehlies said.
Anyone who would like to suggest members of the services to send stars to or is interested in donating old flags can contact the church at 305-665-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the project, visit www.starsforourtroops.org.