Pine Bluffs Post - Serving all of Eastern Laramie County since 1908

By Penny Merryfield
Pine Bluffs Post 

Veterans memorial receives new poles and bricks


Penny Merryfield/Pine Bluffs Post

Lowe's store #1539 in Cheyenne recently donated aluminum flagpoles to the Pine Bluffs Veterans Memorial. Also attending were two active members of the U.S. Air Force. From left: Technical Sergeant Brandon Hernandez, American Legion Post 60 Honor Guard Commander Chuck Radcliffe, Staff Sergeant Tessa Heiser, American Legion Post 60 Commander John Wise and Lowe's Assistant Store Manager Melody Berg, Assistant Store Manager, and Customer Sales Associate Joe Townsend.

Standing center point, out in front of the U.S. military branch flags, the American flag unfurled in the Wyoming breeze. While this flag is honored daily, she was honored more highly on Flag Day.

Members of the Donald Eisenhauer American Legion Post 60 raised the military flags in salute to "Our Flag" and our veterans at the Veterans Memorial square downtown Pine Bluffs. The flag poles were donated by Lowe's in Cheyenne. Citizens of Pine Bluffs and surrounding area gathered around the flag, and with hands over their hearts and hats removed they recited the "Pledge of Allegiance" .

Memorial bricks were dedicated and placed by family members and veterans, saluting the laid brick. Staff Sergeant Tessa Heiser from the Wyoming spoke about her career in the military called the names of the veterans on the memorial bricks.

The memorial bricks were handed to family or veterans and placed in the holder and honored with a salute.

And what Flag Day means to her.

Heiser's military career began in 2012 after graduating with a bachelors degree in social work from the University of Wyoming. Heiser felt she needed to change the of her life and the change was the military

During her training she asked why is there a flag hanging in the fuselage of a C-130. It would take her a couple of years to get her answer.

She was flying a patient home from overseas, a female in her late 20s, who was injured overseas and while recovering became very ill. "As I spoke to her throughout the flight I discovered that she had spent almost a year out of country away from her family and friends." Heiser said. "Upon descending into her hometown I gave her a briefing on making sure she was secure in her seat, as well as how to clear her ears if the pressure builds up. The last thing I said to her was 'welcome home ma'am' as her eyes begin to well up with tears she humbly said thank you and it was at that moment I have the answer to why we fly flags in the c130s."

Heiser spoke about learning her on appreciation for symbolism: why do we stand for the national anthem ,why do you take off our hats and place our hands over her heart and why do we fly the American flag?

She went on to share the history that answered these questions.

"Francis Scott Key was a lawyer in Baltimore. Mr. Key is the creator of the Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem. At the time the colonies were in a long vicious battle with Britain, which would later deemed as the war of 1812 and more specifically the battle of Baltimore. Both sides had prisoners, Francis Scott Key was sent out to mediate between Britain and the American colonies. He made a negotiation for a one-for-one trade of hostages Britain agreed to the trade off the hostages, however the they gave an ultimatum to either lay down the colors of the flag or we will remove Fort McHenry from the face of the earth with all the armament of the British fleet.

"There were hundreds of warships off the coast of Baltimore that shot guns and cannons through the torturous bombardment. Key reported the happenings down to the American prisoners, as well as wrote about them. The prisoners kept asking if the flag was still up, is it still standing. The barrage was unmerciful. The flag suffered repetitious direct hits while men and women on the ground lost their lives. The rockets red glare and the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there through the clearing smoke by the dawns early light. The flag with it's beautiful stripes and bright stars remained standing on the rampart. We were victorious! The American flag is everything that America stood for that day and still stands for today." Heiser concluded with the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mayor Alan Curtis spoke about the dedication of the veterans to our country and thanked everyone for coming.


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