MELISSA - The Stars and Stripes will fly high again in Melissa this Memorial Day, thanks in large part to the Melissa Rotary Club.


Each year, the organization sponsors a flag program to display Old Glory at homes, businesses and city landmarks on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day and Veterans Day. The cost is $50 per flag ordered.


This year, more than 700 people have already signed up for the program.


“The people of Melissa are very supportive of the program,” Rotary Club President-Elect John Cave said. “It’s a very patriotic community and we really appreciate their sponsorship and their support.”


Flags began flying earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rotary Club wanted to display flags early to celebrate the country and community. However, members also wanted to take a safe approach.


That led to flags initially only being posted at key locations including city hall, the school administration building and subdivision monuments.


When Gov. Greg Abbott announced his first steps toward reopening the state’s economy in early May, Rotary members began placing flags early at homes who had ordered them for Memorial Day.


“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from that,” Cave said.


One thing many residents may not realize is that the money they pay for the flags to be displayed in their yards goes toward service and goodwill projects across the globe.


Among those are contributions to the Melissa Community Outreach program, as well and local churches that run financial-need programs.


The organization also supports The Samaritan Inn, as well as an orphanage in Ghana and worldwide efforts to eradicate polio.


Nearly one-third of the local Rotary Club’s funds go toward scholarships. Within the past two weeks, the organization worked in conjunction with the Melissa Education Foundation to award 22 scholarships for local high school seniors.


Early on during the coronavirus crisis, the Rotary Club teamed up with the Masons to let the community know that were both available to help.


Surprisingly, there were fewer requests than expected. Cave chalks this up to neighbors stepping up and helping out each other.


“We’ve got a lot of people that are ready to help - not only the Rotary, but groups like the Masons and the like,” he said. “We’re happy to provide help. We just haven’t had very much demand.”


Despite all of the COVID-19 restrictions, the Rotary Club continues to meet every Thursday morning via Zoom. The organization is open to men and women of all ages. When more restrictions are lifted, it plans to resume in-person meetings at the Anna ISD building.


As for Memorial Day flags, residents who signed up and have not yet received theirs should expect them by the end of the week. Crews will then pick them up early next week.


Those are who are interested in displaying flags for the next patriotic holiday (Flag Day is June 14) can order them on the Melissa Rotary Club website, melissarotary.org.