INDIAN SHORES — One year ago, Robert Brotherton, a member of the Clearwater branch of the Sons of the American Revolution, presented the town of Indian Shores with a certificate documenting the town’s respectful handling and displaying of the American flag at the Indian Shores Municipal Center.
Now it is time for new nominees to be considered for this honor in 2020.
Compliance with the Federal Flag Code is the basis for the SAR’s selection of a recipient for flag certification. The code contains the rules for handling and displaying the American flag. A sampling of those rules includes outside flags being illuminated during darkness, displayed often, and flown at half-staff on Memorial Day until noon when it is then raised to the top of the staff.
“The language in this code makes clear that the flag is a living symbol to be greatly honored and respected,” said Brotherton.
“Everyone who displays the flag at their home, business or organization should check to see that they are displaying the flag properly,” said Brotherton. “The biggest problem is that flags should be properly lit at night.”
Last year, the Clearwater Chapter of the SAR determined that the town of Indian Shores met all criteria for presentation of their four pole-mounted flags as well as the flag on the fourth floor of the town’s municipal building according to federal requirements.
At last year’s presentation, Brotherton commended the town’s public services supervisor, Mike Scrogham, who was and is in charge of ensuring the proper handling of the town’s flags that led to the town receiving the flag certification.
Brotherton is town engineer for Indian Shores, a title he has held since 2004. Additionally, Brotherton has been doing engineering project work for the cities of Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and Treasure Island since 2005. When Brotherton is not working as an engineer, he wears another hat — a tri-cornered one.
The Sons of the American Revolution, or The SAR as it is also called, was founded in 1889 as a patriotic, historical and educational organization to unite and promote fellowship among the descendants of those who fought in the American Revolution. Brotherton explained that the organization’s purpose “is to inspire the community-at-large with a respect for the Constitution and principles of government founded by our forefathers.”
According to SAR.org, The Sons of the American Revolution is the largest male lineage organization in the U.S. with over 33,500 members and 500 local chapters. The organization’s national headquarters are in Lexington, Kentucky. Sixteen U.S. presidents, Winston Churchill, and Juan Carlos I of Spain have been among some of its more prominent members.
The Clearwater branch meets monthly for lunch at the Dunedin Golf Club where guest speakers give talks about topics relevant to the colonial period. Recently talks have been given on period dress, how the Constitution was written, and who the Hessians were.
Examples of some of the group’s projects include putting wreaths on veterans’ graves at the Dunedin Cemetery on Keen Road just south of SR 580 on Veterans Day, and working with veterans’ organizations to collect supplies for vets at the VA Hospital.
The Clearwater group also participates locally with ROTC units at high schools, provides an annual need-based scholarship for a selected student at St. Petersburg College, and presents good citizenship awards at secondary schools.
The women’s version is the DAR, or the Daughters of the American Revolution. Brotherton said that the two groups often work together on a number of the community projects.
Brotherton is currently the chapter’s first vice-president, and will be the chapter president next year. As assistant to Parks Honeywell, the local group’s registrar/genealogist, Brotherton helps prospective members research their ancestry to prove their connection to Revolutionary War patriots, a requirement to join the SAR.
“It is important that families, especially seniors, think about writing down family history and save old historical records, so information is not lost forever,” said Brotherton.
Anyone interested in making a nomination for the Flag Certification, or wanting to find out more about the Sons of the American Revolution is encouraged to contact Brotherton at 727-744-2041.