By Betty Gandee

Gale Brown has diligently raised the American flag before every Clay County High School football game for the last 45 years, and is pictured returning the chairmanship of the flag back to the school. Photo courtesy of the Clay County High School Yearbook staff.

It is easy to take for granted our freedom, and to not put into full perspective what each and every veteran of this great country gave for us. Gale Brown is one of these veterans who has given back to Clay County for years.

In 1972, Mr. Brown was elected as first commander of the Clay VFW Post 4419. Coach Ronald Sirk was the new Clay County High School football coach. Coach Sirk and himself decided that it would be good for the VFW to accept the responsibilities of raising the American flag at all home games as part of the Americanism program. Mr. Brown agreed to chair that program and post the colors as the band played our national anthem, but by the end of the season, Coach Sirk decided he could not allow the time needed and that there should be uniformed people raise the colors as the band played the Star-Spangled Banner. This procedure has been continued for the past 45 years. 34 of those years Mr. Brown and his brother, Paul, raised the colors until Paul’s death in 2006. Herb Vance took his place and has assisted in this for the past 12 years.
Next to the last home game of 2018, he was unable to attend due to learning more on his heritage in Scotland. He got the honor of visiting the tomb of his 19th great grandfather, “Robert the Bruce” on this trip and learned that he was Scottish royalty.
Rodney Legg assisted Herb Vance on this occasion. Herb had planned to assist Mr. Brown at the last home game on November 2 but due to health issues he was unable to. With the help of Rodney and Ralph Nottingham, they were able to complete their 46th year of this tradition.
Mr. Brown presented the flag back to the high school at a special ceremony on Thursday, November 8. Mr. Brown says, “Due to many reasons, most obvious, I am returning the flag to the school administration whom I am certain will be able to meet this challenge.” Thank you for your service and your extreme dedication to Clay County.