COLUMBIA FALLS – Nearly 20 years ago, three women from Freeport felt that they wanted to give back to the United States after the attacks on 9/11.
They started the tradition of raising an American flag every Tuesday morning and now the tradition is being continued in Columbia Falls.
“Since 9/11 those ladies took to the hill in Freeport, Maine and waved their flags to just remind people to honor the flag, honor the troops, remember those who died on 9/11, remember the acts of heroism on 9/11 and to not forget the day that changed our country forever,” said Karen Worcester, executive director of Wreaths Across America.
Elaine Greene said at the time she couldn’t join the military so she raised a flag in their honor.
“People started beeping their horns and yelling ‘God bless America’ and ‘We can get through this,'” said Greene. “I looked at the two of them and said I’ve been praying to show something that I could do and I said, I think my prayer was just answered.”
So the tradition began.
Greene said the three ladies were only going to raise the flag for one year on the 11th of every month.
“I thought the least we could do through rain, snow, sleet, whatever is to stand and show them we will not forget them or their families, that America cares about what you’re doing for us,” Greene said.
Eighteen years later the woman are now retiring, but the tradition isn’t ending.
Wreaths Across America in collaboration with Worcester Wreath Co. will keep the mission going.
Worcester Wreath Co., founded and owned by the Worcester family, is one of the largest corporate sponsors of Wreaths Across America.
“We will reach out to the community and we will be here every Tuesday. The flag will be raised at 9 o’clock and taken down at 10,” Worcester said.
An event was held Tuesday to celebrate the work of the Freeport Flag Ladies and pass the tradition on as it continues in Columbia Falls.
“What they’ve done here is amazing,” Greene said.
“We totally don’t think we deserve all this attention and a stone, a plaque and flag pole. All we wanted to do was show our love of our country and to be of use to our fellow Americans,” she said.