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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Family feels pride as Historical Society raises a veteran’s flag for very first time

  •     Last Friday, The St. James Historical Society made history by raising the United States flag. Of course, this wasn’t just any US flag. This one was different. Up until Friday, June 15, the Historical Society had never raised a veteran’s flag.

     


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  •     Last Friday, The St. James Historical Society made history by raising the United States flag.
        Of course, this wasn’t just any US flag. This one was different.
        Up until Friday, June 15, the Historical Society had never raised a veteran’s flag.
        What’s more, this flag, which was draped over the coffin of Wayne Jerome Haycraft at his  funeral, had been folded neatly and handed to his surviving wife, Betty Haycraft (now Urban, as she later remarried) and later placed in a cedar chest.
        The chest, holding Wayne Haycraft’s honorary flag, was neither reopened nor was the flag ever removed.
        That is, until last Friday, two days before Father’s Day, which would make it exactly 50 years ago – to the day – that Wayne Haycraft’s rented plane crashed.
        Betty also mentioned that on the day of his death, in addition to being Father’s Day, the day  also marked the couple’s anniversary.
        Haycraft had previously served in the Army/Air Corps., which would eventually become known as The U.S. Airforce.
        During his time in the military, he was stationed in Italy, where he was assigned to load US planes with bombs prior to take-off.
        “It’s the first time it’s been officially opened since they pulled it off the casket and gave it to me in 1961 on June 21,” said   Urban. “That was the day of the funeral.”
        Once the flag was finally raised, Urban said she still felt a sense of pride, even after all these years.
    “I think I should,” said Urban. “He served our country.”
        Kevin Haycraft, who was only two and a half years old, at the time of his father’s untimely death, said he, too, was moved by the raising of his father’s flag...
    For the full story, check out the latest issue of, or subscribe to, The St. James Plaindealer at (507) 375-3161.
     

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