by Cori Hilsgen
Motorists driving on CR 51 Sunday may have seen many flags flying on the front lawn of Darol and Ellie Studer’s home.
Both are longtime residents of St. Joseph. Darol has been flying the flags for many years, and this November was no different.
On Sunday, Nov. 10, four members of the American Legion of St. Joseph gathered to set up flags in front of the home Studer built 50 years ago.
Studer was flying the flags in honor of the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps, Nov. 10, and Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11.
Studer himself is a Korean War Marine Corps veteran.
“I enlisted, honorably served and was honorably discharged,” Studer said.
He flies the flags to honor all veterans. Studer started with one flag on each holiday, but 10 years ago he started flying at least 21 different flags on 15-16 different holidays. The holidays include all the national holidays; the different holidays for the armed forces, including the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy; Armed Forces Day; Veterans’ Day; and others.
Ellie said he often re-arranges them once they are out on the lawn.
Studer said he does so because he wants to put different flags in the front, depending on what holiday it is.
Studer’s collection of flags is extensive. It includes flags such as the United States Marine Corps flag, flags of the 13 colonies that unified to form the United States, the “Star Spangled Banner” 15-star flag, the Betsy Ross 13- star flag, 20-, 21-, 30-, 32-, 37-, 38-, 48- and 49-star flags, a POW/MIA flag and others.
His knowledge of the flags is as extensive as his collection, as he recalls dates that stars were added and patterns were changed.
Legion members Al Torborg, Gilbert (Gib) Stock, Fran Court and Chuck Kern helped Studer set up the flags Nov. 10.
Once the flags were flying, the Legion members gathered around the Studers’ dining room table for cookies, bars and coffee. Discussion turned to projects that Legion members have helped fund, such as the downtown Minnesota Street improvement, including the lights and flags.
Commander Kern said he doesn’t think people from the St. Joseph area realize how much the members of the American Legion of St. Joseph have contributed and how the economy will benefit from the building of the new armory.
“We welcome and encourage any veteran who is not a member to become a member,” he said.
Kern said he is one of the younger Legion members, having been a member for 20 years. Torborg has been a member for 60 years, Stock for 57 years, Court for 33 years and Studer for 39 years.
“Service means a lot to veterans,” Kern said.
He added for many veterans it probably was the greatest and the best time they ever had in their lives. If many were physically able, they would go back in to serve if they were asked to do so again.
Kern also talked about how the Legion’s Memorial Rifle Squad honors their fellow veterans with a final farewell on the third Monday of every month. He said families are always very appreciative of what they do and how they honor the service their family member gave.
As the conversation ended and the Legion members drove away, Studer’s 21 flags were waving in the morning breeze.