AUBURN — A community observance of Flag Day on Saturday featured patriotic music, along with some history of the annual June 14 celebration, and some flag etiquette information.

“It’s amazing to hold it in your hands,” said Willie Danforth, commander of Franco-American War Veterans Post 31 in Lewiston. He had just raised the Stars and Stripes as flag-bearers First Vice Commander John Pape and Colby Dill, both of the American Legion’s William J. Rogers Post 153 of Auburn held flags for the Pledge of Allegiance.

He spoke directly to a few young people in attendance, telling them it would be their lifelong duty to safeguard the nation’s flag.

Danforth gave a moving tribute as he announced the death in recent hours of Jerry Der Boghosian, longtime local veterans’ advocate. Der Boghosian, 91, was a World War II veteran.

Between two and three dozen people gathered at the veterans monument on the Summer Street side of Mount Auburn Cemetery.

In dress uniform, U.S. Navy Lt. j.g. Howard F. Kroll served as master of ceremonies. Kroll, assistant city manager of Auburn, opened the program with a vivid description of the Battle of Baltimore 200 years ago when Francis Scott Key witnessed the War of 1812 assault on Fort McHenry. With his account of the circumstances that inspired Key to write “The Star Spangled Banner,” Kroll introduced Larry Gowell of Auburn to sing the national anthem.


Gowell, a well-known vocalist at numerous community venues, has been chosen to sing the national anthem on Maine Day, July 6, at Fenway Park when the Boston Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles. Gowell, a graduate of Edward Little High School, was a pitcher for the New York Yankees about 40 years ago.

Gowell also joined vocalist and local choir director Caroline Young-Coffin for other patriotic songs including “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”

Larry Pelletier, chairman of the Auburn School Committee, spoke on the history of Flag Day and BettyAnn Sheats, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, presented facts and advice on proper flag etiquette.

Gerry Dennison, constituent services representative for the office of U.S. Sen. Angus King, recited “The American’s Creed,” a resolution passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on April 3, 1918.

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