Long may she wave

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 14, 2006

Standing proudly and waving majestically are the noble American flags that line Commerce Street in Greenville on each national holiday.

They strike an imposing figure for everyone who drives by or walks by them, a grand reminder of the freedoms we all enjoy and, hopefully, do not take for granted.

On Monday, Jan. 16, the flags will wave again for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert E. Lee's birthdays.

Ten times each year, the Camellia City Civitan Club places the flags out in a reverential display.

According to Gene Autrey, Camellia City Civitan District and Club Judge Advocate, placing the flags on display in front of area businesses was one of the first projects the club, which was charted in 1955, undertook.

&#8220We have approximately 140 businesses within the city limits that now participate,” Autrey said. &#8220We encourage any and all businesses inside the city limits to join us whenever we do this.”

The cost to participate is $35 each year, which pays for the flag, the flagstaff and the bracket that holds it. Civitan Club members put out the flags on each federal holiday, and they take them back up.

&#8220Whenever we put out the flags, we hope that it will help to build good citizenship by bringing out patriotism and respect for the flag in our citizens,” Autrey said.

The mission of Civitan worldwide is to build good citizenship by providing a volunteer organization of clubs dedicated to serving individual and community needs with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities.

In addition to building good citizenship, the Civitan Club gives two $500 scholarships each year to seniors from Greenville High School and Fort Dale Academy. They donate money to the Greenville-Butler County Public Library and to the Butler Activity and Training Center. Plus, a leadership award is given each spring to a Greenville High School JROTC student.

The Civitan Club also uses its fee money to buy tickets for underprivileged and at-risk children so they may attend performances sponsored by the Greenville Area Arts Council.

&#8220Camp Civitan is another project that we sponsor,” Susan Murphy, Camellia City Civitan Club president, said. &#8220Once a year during the summer, we pay for special needs adults and children to attend the camp.”

Autrey said that the Civitan Club is involved with some kind of project that will benefit others all year long.

&#8220We are always looking for more people to join us,” Autrey said.

&#8220Our three main purposes are service, knowledge and fellowship. Helping others, building up others and being supporters of good citizenship is what Civitan is about.”

The Civitan Club meets every 2nd and 4th Monday at 7 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on East Commerce Street. A meal and a program will be hosted at each meeting.

For more information about joining the Camellia City Civitan Club, please contact Susan Murphy at 382-3865 or Gene Autrey at 382-5365.