Soldier statue

Green Valley resident Tom Burgess, who was in the U.S. Air Force for 27 years and also worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, picked up his latest flag holder at a Cracker Barrel.

The rest of the United States may be recognizing Flag Day on Friday, but Green Valley residents Tom and Patsy Burgess celebrate the Stars and Stripes every day.

Tom, who spent 27 years in the U.S. Air Force, and Patsy, a retired U.S. Department of Defense contractor, have always flown at least one flag outside their home.

When they're at their summer home in Alaska, their property is lined with flags readily seen from a nearby highway, he said. During Memorial Day weekend their driveway in Green Valley was line by little flags.

The large flag outside their North Abrego Drive home draws a lot of attention because it's held by a bronze statue of a Desert Storm soldier. 

"Patsy and I are fairly patriotic and we decided it would be a nice way to display the flag," Tom said. "We found him at a Cracker Barrel when transitioning between Alaska and here."

Flag Day was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916. It commemorates the adoption of the flag on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress in August 1946, but it is not a federal holiday.

Burgess, an avid gardener, said passersby stop and ask about the statue. Just recently, he'd put it away for a while thinking he and Patsy would be leaving for Alaska soon.

"All of the neighbors came over and asked if he'd been ripped off," Burgess said.

Kim Smith | 520-547-9740

Assistant Editor Kim Smith moved to Arizona from Michigan when she was 16. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism in 1989. She has worked at seven newspapers of varying size in Arizona, Texas and Nevada.