On any given holiday, you might find streets of The Dalles lined with waving American flags. Since the 1950’s, the flags have appeared as if by magic to inspire patriotism and pride in our town.
It began as a fundraiser by Bart Hansen, scoutmaster of local Boy Scout Troop 352 chartered by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to pay for scout camp costs and equipment in 1956.
The scouts placed the flags at 6 a.m. and took them down in the evening. Businesses originally purchased their own flag and pole and the scouts stored, maintained and placed the flags for a yearly donation. It later included Troop 357 and evolved into flags all up and down the streets and letters sent to businesses for donations.
Like clockwork for 60 years, the flags have gone out and come down. There were a few times that it rained so the flags did not appear, and the public noticed with letters to the editor. It has become something that we, as a community, count on without really knowing who is responsible.
Over the years there have been countless supporters including adult volunteer scout leaders, hundreds of scouts, their supportive parents and local businesses. Local orchardist and businessman Gary Honald has been a big supporter, facilitating the donation of 50 flags and even taking one loop of the route himself.
In 2014, the baton was passed to Troop 398, chartered by the Catholic Church with Anthony Pereira as scoutmaster.
The Dalles-based group hits the streets about 6 a.m. every holiday to place flags along Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth streets.
In recent years, the number of flags lining our streets has grown exponentially, thanks to the generosity of the community and the hard work of the scouts.
The flags create a dramatic and patriotic display—and unite The Dalles community as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”