Monday, May 30, 2011

My Grandfather, a rare American Flag and Memorial Day

(ABOVE: from 1949. Tom Windham, my uncle, sketched this image of my Grandfather with lead! My Aunt Thelma Windham Emory gave this to me.)

I would like to share with you a neat and somewhat unique part of my family's history-- my Grandfather that I never knew.

Bert Flickinger was born in the late 1800s. As a young teenager he lied about his age so that he could enlist in World War I. He served as a 14 year old solider!

After "the World War" he returned to Orange, Texas, and lived a normal life. He was best known as the town photographer, in fact he photographed every high school student in Orange for the yearbook!

His photography became his life and family business.

My Dad, Aunt Thelma and Grandma kept "Flickinger Foto" afloat for years. ( For folks from Orange who might read this, Flickinger Foto was located on Green Avenue across from old Stark High School. Was in a building next to the old KFC.)

Grandfather died about 50 years ago when Eisenhower was president. Thanks to Grandfather's military service in WWI our government provided an American flag for his casket. The large flag remains with our family.

Year later, my Dad helped start a new tradition on Memorial Day: sharing the flag with our church, First Christian Church of Orange, TX.

Dad hung the flag inside the chapel each Memorial Day. I later helped out as I got older and understood its significance. The flag itself is also a rarity...

(ABOVE: From near 1940. Grandfather owned his own photography studio in Orange, and he created this humorous postcard called "Texas Minnow". The model is my Aunt Thelma as a teenager. BELOW: My Aunt Thelma and me in 2009 at her farm near Mauriceville, TX. She shared most of the stories that I know about my Grandfather! She died in 2011.)

...My Grandfather died during a unique part of our country's growth as his death occurred between the few months of both Alaska and Hawaii becoming states.

Alaska had been admitted, but Hawaii wasn't a state yet. Our country had 49 states when he died, so his casket flag had 49 stars!

A traditional 50 star (from my other Grandfather) along with the rare 49 star flag remain in the family.

I look forward to sharing this story and these flags with my children someday.

Thanks for reading.

(BELOW: A 49 star flag represented our country for only months. The family flag hangs at First Christian Church in Orange, TX on patriotic occasions such as Memorial Day.)

1 comment:

  1. Vivien Flickinger HubbardMay 28, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    To add to our history, Grandfather died in February, 1960....In our family photos, I have an arial shot of West Orange he took for a construction company. I have the letter and the photo in my possession. Since our Aunt Thelma passed away I have many of the negatives of Orange and a few famous people, never published. I feel honored to have these rare negatives and honored our Grandfather served in our military.