A Bennington U.S Flag's Journey
by U.S. Army
National Guard Sgt. Matthew Damon
September 13, 2022
According to Merriam-Webster, a flag is a
piece of fabric, usually rectangular in shape, of distinctive design
that is used as a symbol of a nation. On June 14, 1777, the
Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act, which described how
the first flag of the United States was to be designed. "Resolved,
that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes,
alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in
a blue field, representing a new Constellation."
been several variations of the flag of the United States. One
particular variation is the Bennington Flag. Typical of Revolution
era flags, the Bennington flag features 13 stars and 13 stripes to
symbolize the 13 American colonies in rebellion against Great
Britain. Inside the 13 stars is a large “76” referencing the year
that the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Bennington Flag also has a few other unique characteristics. The
blue field is taller than other flags, spanning nine stripes instead
of the usual seven. The majority of American flags feature 5-point
stars, while the Bennington Flag features 7-point stars.
particular Bennington Flag was flown in Germany in 1968-1970.
Specialist 4 Jennings Michael Runyon, a generator repairer assigned
to Alpha Company, 46th Medical Battalion, 4th Infantry Division,
received the flag upon completion of his assignment. Living in
Ashland, Kentucky, Runyon served his country faithfully and raised a
The flag of
U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Jacob Holley’s grandfather flies over Camp Nothing Hill, Kosovo on August 31, 2022. Holley’s Bennington flag features 13 stars and 13 stripes to symbolize the 13 American colonies in rebellion against Great Britain. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt,. Matthew Damon)
Runyon’s grandson, Spc. Jacob Holley, an infantryman
assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment,
116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry Division, received
the flag from his grandfather prior to his passing in January 2022.
To honor his grandfather, Holley brought the flag with him on
deployment to Europe.
“I joined the military because of the
example that my grandfather set,” said Holley. “I want to be able to
honor the man that helped raise me.”
When Holley was 15 years
old, his father passed away. Runyon took Holley and his brother in
and raised them to be the men they are today.
Spc. Holley is
currently serving on NATO’s Kosovo Forces, KFOR, mission in Kosovo.
Prior to arriving in Kosovo, the flag made a stop back in Germany at
The Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, marking the
first time the flag had returned to Europe. Holley, along with the
other members of his platoon, posed for a photograph with the flag.
"I think we have a duty and responsibility to preserve this
history,” said Lt. Col. Jason Mendez, commander 1st Battalion, 149th
Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 29th Infantry
Division. “We are fortunate to have that personal connection to this
history through Spc. Holley and his grandfather.”
Kosovo, the flag was flown above the camp to honor Runyon. The flag
remains displayed in Holley’s living quarters. Holley hopes to have
the flag flown on an aviation mission across Kosovo.
Holley’s love for his grandfather and admiration of his service has
instilled a love of country that resonates through Spc. Holley
today,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Metzgar, Spc. Holley’s platoon leader.
“I’m thankful to be part of the leadership to honor this and help
preserve history for future generations.”
U.S. Army Spc. Jacob Holley (left holding flag), an infantryman assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, and others from 1st Platoon pose for a photo with a flag belonging to Holley’s grandfather at The Joint Multinational Readiness Training Center in Hohenfels, Germany
on February 23, 2022. 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment is currently serving in Kosovo as part of the approximately 3,600 troops serving with the NATO-led Kosovo Force mission. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Matthew Damon)
On the civilian
side, Holley is a trained diesel mechanic, but serves in another
capacity as a moving and maintenance supervisor at King’s Daughters
Medical Center. Holley is currently engaged and has a 3-year-old
daughter. Holley intends to pass the flag along to his next
generation to continue honoring his grandfather.
Mendez continued, “So often we find our Soldiers come from a ‘family
of service’; families who over the years develop a legacy of
commitment to our profession of arms. Spc. Holley's family is an
example of this, and we are grateful for their service and
sacrifice. This flag, Spc. Holley, and Holley's grandfather will
forever be part of the Mountain Warrior Battalion."
National Guard Soldiers from Kentucky currently represent a portion
of the U.S.' contribution toward the 3,600 troops provided to KFOR
by 28 countries working towards maintaining a safe and secure
environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo.
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