Ralph Gracie Post raises flags in downtown Bemidji to honor the fallen

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Steve Jewett, former commander of American Legion Post No. 14, places an American flag on a lamp post along Minnesota Ave. NW on Thursday evening in downtown Bemidji. (Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer)
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BEMIDJI -- Volunteers from Ralph Gracie American Legion Post No. 14, along with a few of their family members, put up 120 American flags on lamp posts in downtown Bemidji on Thursday evening ahead of Memorial Day.

Steve Jewett, a former commander of the Ralph Gracie Post, said 40 of the flags were purchased new this year after having to replace some that were stolen or damaged last summer.

"We do this so it looks nice for Memorial Day and Flag Day," Jewett said. "And we leave them up for the Fourth of July so things are all patriotic for the parade and then usually take them down around mid-July."

The bunch split into two groups to place the flags along the summer parade route in downtown Bemidji. Steve and his son Nathan and grandsons Grady, Bryce and Tyler, went along one side of the street on Beltrami Avenue Northwest, Third Street and Minnesota Avenue Northwest.

Meanwhile, Randy Stebe and Legion members Randy Hanevold and Andy Staudt placed flags on the other side of the street along the route.


"It's just one of the many things we at Ralph Gracie do as a service to our community and to honor our veterans," Jewett explained. "We will also be putting out around 1,000 flags at veteran's graves in Greenwood Cemetery on Saturday for Memorial Day."

If anyone sees a flag that has fallen off a lamp post, the Legion asks that it's brought to Bemidji Woolen Mills and owner Bill Batchelder will ensure it is returned to them.

Annalise is the editor and a photographer at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is a Mass Communication graduate from Bemidji State University. Her favorite pastime is exploring the great outdoors and capturing its natural beauty on camera. Contact Annalise at (218) 333-9796, (218) 358-1990 or
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