By Christina MacGregor
News Review Correspondent
Patriotic strains of music will be heard once again off of the corner of Norma and Las Flores this Independence day, as a flag is raised proudly through the air.
The Ridgecrest Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is planning on holding a 4th of July flag raising at 7 am on July 4th. It will take place at the church’s meetinghouse at 501 N Norma St.
This is the first time that the flag ceremony has happened since COVID, and many members of the community are excited to see it back.
David Foster is in charge of setting up this year’s event. It will include a flag-raising by a local scouting troop, and prelude and postlude music- as well as a sing-a-long with the audience members- by a 15-member community band. There will also be a patriotic talk, this year given by Terry Byerly, as well as some prayers.
“Whenever we have family come in town for the 4th of July we take them to the flag-raising,” remarked Penny Belt. “For a lot of people it’s an annual tradition to attend.”
Belt is in charge of the band for the event, and has been for many years. Though unsure of how long the event has been going on, Belt commented that she knows that it has been going on for at least 40 years, and pre-dates her own family’s arrival to Ridgecrest.
The event has switched venues a few times, but it has primarily stuck to the lawn of that meetinghouse.
“We have had as many as 30 members of the band in the past,” commented Belt.
The sing-a-along will be led by Beckey Smith, who has also held the position for many years. Belt is of the position that if something’s not broke then don’t fix it, and Smith has done an admirable job in the position for years.
In the past Belt has also helped coordinate and lead a “My Country Tis’ Of Thee” program, where community children are part of an (approximately) hour-long performance that celebrates and honors past and present events and eras in US history.
The event would usually take place a few hours after the flag-raising, most often at Murray Middle school. The children’s program won’t be held this year, since some of the church events are still slowly coming back after COVID. While many hope that the children’s program will be back in the future, they are grateful that the flag ceremony is back.
There will be donuts at the end of the event, and everyone is invited to attend.