From left, Ringgold Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jake Haynes, Ringgold Downtown Development Authority Chairman Randall Franks, Commissioner Ray Johnson, Chairman Steven Henry, Commissioner Jeff Long, former Ringgold Mayor Joe Barger, Ringgold Flag Committee members and volunteers Billy Rhinehart, Pete Pedigo, Lori Harris (front) , Sharon Pedigo (back), Charlotte Edwards, Commissioner Jim Cutler, Commissioner Bobby Winters, Bill Harvey, Gilbert Childers, Vernon Bramlett, and Porter Buff
The Catoosa County Board of Commissioners has recognized the Ringgold Flag Committee, its volunteers and contributors, along with the Ringgold Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Ringgold Downtown Development Authority for all the entities' contributions to the bi-annual Festival of Flags honoring the deceased veterans of Catoosa County which draws tourists from throughout the region to Ringgold.
A Proclamation in Recognition of Ringgold’s Festival of Flags Honoring Catoosa’s Deceased Veterans
Whereas, the Ringgold Festival of Flags honoring deceased veterans of Catoosa County occurs bi-annually at Veterans and Memorial days.
Whereas, the 47-year-old tradition, now featuring over 1,500 flags, began with an effort by the members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8153 of Ringgold in 1970 starting with just 12 flags. With the closure of that post, the flags were delivered by agreement to the city of Ringgold to provide custodial care of the flags. The city of Ringgold through its council also agreed to serve as the fiscal agent of the newly-formed Flag Committee which maintains the tradition by organizing volunteers and carrying out the display.
Whereas, the Flag Committee leads a large group of volunteers which raises over 1,500 flags along the rights-of-way on streets and public spaces throughout the city of Ringgold. Volunteers then compile a map of the locations providing a key for visitors to search for their veteran’s flag posted at Catoosa Hall at Maple and U.S. 41 during that display. The volunteers then return two weeks later to remove and store the flags until the next Festival of Flags.
Whereas, the group works closely with a list of dedicated sponsors who provide materials to make the display possible. Planning and preparation for the events occur throughout the year as families add dozens of new flags honoring veterans who have recently passed. Family members visit Ringgold City Hall, fill out a display participation form, and donate $65. The program is supported by these and other donations.
Whereas, the committee finds new sites for display to place older flags as new ones go on display at Ringgold City Hall. Ringgold High School students cut and assemble poles, construct cross stands, preparing for new names to be added in anticipation for next event.
Whereas, former Ringgold Mayor Joe Barger remains the link between the original VFW effort and the work of the current Flag Committee by serving in both.
Whereas, Catoosa County military who were killed in action are recognized annually at 1890s Day Jamboree Memorial Day weekend celebration at the Catoosa County Courthouse stage by announcing of their names, holding a moment of silence and presenting a gun salute.
Whereas, the bi-annual Festival of Flags is marketed for tourism by the Ringgold Convention and Visitors Bureau and as part of the Veterans Day Festival of Flags, the City Council and Ringgold Downtown Development Authority began a Veterans Day Concert honoring our veterans in 2010 featuring the Jericho Brass. The concert moved in 2016 from the Ringgold Depot to Ringgold High School with performances by the Ringgold High School Tiger Band and Chorus.
Be it therefore resolved that the Catoosa County Board of Commissioners, recognizes these bi-annual events as a great benefit to Catoosa County bringing tourists from throughout the region to enjoy the tireless efforts of the volunteers while remembering the contributions of these great Americans who served our county, and our country in the military. The patriotic spirit it invokes adds tremendously to the red, white and blue threads of honor, dedication and love of country that binds our community together in the fabric of being Catoosans and especially Americans.
Main Street Manager
City of Ringgold