Byrds honored for treatment of flag

Posted: June 15, 2013

The Winchester Star

Barbara and Harry F. Byrd III were honored by the Col. James Wood II Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution on Friday with a Flag Award for their appropriate and respectful display of the U.S. flag.

BERRYVILLE — Every third year, the Col. James Wood II Chapter of Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) presents its annual Flag Award to a homeowner from the area covering Winchester and Frederick, Clarke, Loudoun, Shenandoah, Page and Rappahannock counties.

In other years, business and government groups are honored.

On Friday, the official Flag Day in the U.S., members of the SAR gathered on the lawn of Thurman Farm, home of Barbara and Harry F. Byrd III on Lord Fairfax Highway (U.S. 340) in Clarke County, to present them the award for their correct and respectful flying of Old Glory.

The Byrds’ 12- by 18-foot flag, mounted on a 50-foot pole and lighted for 24-hour display, can be seen from the heavily traveled highway.

The SAR, an organization of men who can trace their lineage from an ancestor who fought in or contributed to the success of the American Revolution and the founding of the country, has several programs to honor patriotism, including the Flag Award.

The flag of the United States was adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, said Brett Osborn, Color Guard commander for the SAR. President Woodrow Wilson established June 14 as Flag Day in 1916.

It is “the emblem of our nation and the freedoms it represents,” said SAR member Raleigh Watson, who conducted the award ceremony at the foot of the Byrds’ flagpole.

Ray Goff, chairman of the SAR’s Flag Committee, said his committee uses several criteria to judge a flag’s presentation.

It must be properly lit and kept in good repair, the site must be attractive and the flag must be flown at half-staff on appropriate occasions.

Harry Byrd III thanked the SAR for the recognition, noting that his brother Thomas T. Byrd gave him the flag for Christmas in 2000.

“That inspired me to put the pole up,” he said, adding that its installation and electrical fixtures for all-season lighting took a year to complete.

Watson noted that the SAR was especially honored to have one of its emeritus members, former Sen. Harry F. Byrd Jr., attending the ceremony honoring his son and daughter-in-law.

Watson said the Byrds’ flag, which can be seen above the trees from the highway, is “an inspiration to those who travel on [U.S.] 340.”

— Contact Val Van Meter at vvanmeter@winchesterstar.com