'Because I'm an American'There’s a simple explanation behind the flag flying outside Ruth Schimming’s home. “Because that’s what I do,” Schimming said Thursday night. “I’m a flag person.”
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
There’s a simple explanation behind the flag flying outside Ruth Schimming’s home.
“Because that’s what I do,” Schimming said Thursday night. “I’m a flag person.”
She’s one of many in Mitchell. As America celebrates its independence and freedom this weekend, red, white and blue symbols dot the city. Flags fly from porches and are mounted on the side of homes or, as in Schimming’s case, hang a pole in the front yard.
She keeps The Star Spangled Banner flying 365 days a year. A light she has mounted on a metal pole illuminates it at night.
Schimming admits she doesn’t lower the flag to half-staff when a governor or president calls for such a ceremonial observance. It’s just too hard on her, she said.
After all, Schimming turns 100 on Nov. 19.
She’s not a veteran, but several members of her family were. Her cousins, Don and Noel Clements, of Armour, served in the Army and Navy during World War II and her father’s brother, Capt. Earl Paynter, was stationed at Fort Snelling in Minnesota.
She flies the flag all year long to honor their memories and show her pride in America. The retired elementary school music teacher, who still gives piano lessons in her home and plays the organ at the Zion Lutheran Church, said it’s something she’s proud to do.
Phyllis Simpson said she flies a flag at her home in part because America is fighting two wars.
“We’re in war,” Simpson said. “We have to be patriotic.”
Audra Rew and her husband, Art Rew Jr., fly a flag outside their home to celebrate America and the opportunity it provides, Audra said.
“We like to respect the values America stands for,” she said. “I like to support the troops fighting for our values.”
Rew said the flag symbolizes American freedom and the chance to create a comfortable life, one with fireworks and picnics on a summer weekend.
“I like the American way where you can work hard to make money and spend it as you please,” she said. “I like the freedom of choice.”
Her father is a war veteran, and the flag is also a way of paying tribute to him, she said.
The Rews’ neighborhood is filled with flags. The Rews live in the house where Art grew up, and his mother lives across the street, where a flag hangs from her home.
John Ackerman flies a flag on holidays at his home in a different part of Mitchell.
Ackerman served in the Navy during World War II from December 1942 to December 1945. He was stationed in the South Pacific for part of that time.
He said there’s an easy answer for why he flies a flag: “Because I’m an American, a veteran.”