The City of Turlock will put its patriotism on display in 2017, as the City Council adopted the 1,000 Flag Initiative on Tuesday, which aims to encourage residents and businesses to fly the Stars and Stripes.
The initiative, which was announced during Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth’s State of the City address on March 22, will encourage Turlockers to fly the American flag year-round and creates three “flag corridors” where the Stars and Stripes will be displayed from Memorial Day through Veterans’ Day.
The three designated flag corridors are: Main Street, between Palm and Lander; Canal Drive along the Joe Gallison Parkway; and Countryside Drive, between Fulkerth and Monte Vista.
The City is encouraging residents, businesses and organizations to register their displayed flag with the City of Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department, in order to track the number of flags being flown throughout town.
While the 1,000 Flag Initiative was adopted by the Council with a unanimous vote, Councilman Gil Esquer wanted to make one thing clear.
“I do not want anyone out there to feel like they’re being bullied into anything. If you’ll look at my collar, I wear the flag every meeting…don’t doubt that I’m patriotic. I love this flag…I will fight for it. But I want to make sure that nobody out there feels like they’re being bullied into the program because I will also fight against that.”
The campaign started with a negative incident that has been turned into a rallying call for flying Old Glory.
In October 2015, someone destroyed the American flag that was flying in front of retired Marine Loren Vincent’s Turlock home. The flag was removed from its pole and burned in his driveway. Vincent received help from his neighbor and United States Air Force retiree Joe Nance to replace the destroyed remnants the next day, and together the two military men successfully raised and saluted a new American flag.
Although Vincent was able to quickly replace his burnt flag, he still received an influx of support from the community immediately following the incident.
Congressman Jeff Denham gave Vincent a flag that had been flown over the U.S. Capitol, the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution presented Vincent with a Certificate of Commendation “in recognition of exemplary patriotism in the display of the flag of the United States of America” and Precision Security Systems donated and installed a high definition surveillance system in front of the retired Marine’s home.
Over a year later, Vincent continues to fly the American flag in front of his home and reached out to Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth to help spread the display of patriotism throughout the community.
“Let the people know that we are proud of that flag. Men are dying every day to protect that flag,” said Vincent at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The initiative has already received strong support from members of the community.
Dana Ferreira from Congressman Denham’s office presented the City with two flags at Tuesday’s Council meeting to replace the ones missing from the Turlock branch of the U.S. Post Office and the Turlock Library.
Alan Marchant of Turlock Scavenger also offered to donate whatever is needed to repair the Post Office and library’s flag poles and contribute to the City’s 1,000 Flag Initiative. Marchant also challenged all the businesses in Turlock to help sponsor a flag for the initiative.
“The last full measure of a sign that indicates one’s commitment, one’s devotion is represented in the flag that drapes the casket as it is lowered to the ground. And there have been many; there have been too many in the course of our history,” said Vice Mayor Bill DeHart.
“It’s an opportunity to say, this is something that matters. And I think that when we, as a City, can say this is something that matters. And I think it’s something we can get behind and support, that we need to exert all possible effort to do just that,” he continued.