By J.O. Parker
Make plans to attend the 2022 Brooklyn Flag Festival where the dedication and unveiling of a life-size bronze statue to commemorate and honor the life of World War II Veteran Cpl. Harold “Pie” Keller will be one of the highlights of the three-day event.
The dedication, which gets underway at 12 noon on Saturday, June 11 at the Avenue of Flags, will feature “Synergy Winds,” a woodwind quintet from the 34th Army Band of the Iowa Army National Guard who will be performing from the porch of the William Manatt House.
“Pie” as he was known, was a life-long Brooklyn resident and one of the six Marine flag-raisers who fought their way to the top of Mount Suribachi on Feb. 23, 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima and planted an American Flag at the peak. The iconic moment was captured by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.
After being mis-identified in the photo for 74-years, the United States Marine Corps officially released findings in October 2019 that Cpl. Keller was indeed one of the six Marines in the iconic photo.
Also being remember are three other Brooklyn Veterans who served at Iwo Jima. They are Don Ent, a Navy Corpsman; Robert “Bob” Dappen, Lt. US Navy; and Byard Braley, Cpl. USMC.
Flag Festival Parade
The day gets underway at 10 a.m. with a parade that starts at the Brooklyn Community Estate and travels along Jackson Street. The parade will feature patriotic floats including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an Iwo Jima float featured in the 2021 flag festival parade and hosted by members of the Ida Grove American Legion Post 61. Also featured in the parade is a group of five reenactors and historians from Omaha, “World War 2 Guys,” who will be dressed authentically in WWII US Marine uniforms to represent the flag-raising servicemen. Other military-themed parade entries include a Korean War Humvee, a two-star general, lots of color guards, patriot guard riders, Marines and a host of Legionnaires.
Patriotic candy bars
More than 2,000 chocolate-covered nougat candy bars will be distributed to visitors of this year’s flag festival, using the exact recipe that a Brooklyn woman, Marie Kriegel Schulte, used during the war years when she mailed 30,000 bars overseas to servicemen. On the wrapper of each “Serve-a-Son” bar was a prayer for that soldier.
New at this year’s Brooklyn Flag Festival is a carnival that will be entertaining to both young and old alike. The carnival will be located in the parking lot off business alley. The carnival opens at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 10 and again on Saturday, June 11 from 11 a.m. to Midnight.
Discounted pre-sale carnival tickets are on sale through Thursday, June 9 and are available at Bear Creek Insurance, Center Ground, First State Bank and Upfront Floral. Once the carnival starts on Friday, tickets are regular price.
Other family activities include the Kiwanis famous chicken dinner, kid’s water fights, figure 8 races, food, beer garden, Re/Max hot air balloon tethered rides, bags tournament, pony rides, face paintings, pedal pull and Firemen’s Ball featuring the Blake Jack Band and Tyler Richton and the High Bank Boys.
The third annual Brooklyn Ruritans Car Show is slated for Sunday, June 12 and will be held on the north edge of town.
Schedule of events
Friday, June 10
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Kiwanis Chicken Dinner, Catholic church parking lot
5 p.m. – Carnival rides start (located in parking lot off business alley)
7:15 p.m. – Figure 8 Races at Brooklyn Raceway
Saturday, June 11
10 a.m. – Parade (lineup on Mills Street @ 9 a.m.) Anyone in the parade will be eligible to win $50 in Brooklyn Bucks for the most patriotic float. Secret judges will be placed along the parade route.
11 a.m. – Midnight - Carnival
11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Kid’s Water Fights
12 p.m. – Harold “Pie” Keller dedication (Avenue of Flags)
1 – 4 p.m. – Pony rides; Re/Max hot air balloon tethered rides; kids activities (ring toss, face painting, etc.)
1:30 p.m. – Pedal pull
2 p.m. – Bags tourney (signup @ 1 p.m. in beer garden)
8 – 12 p.m. – Fireman’s Ball downtown featuring “Blake Jack Band” and “Tyler Richton & the High Bank Boys.”
Sunday, June 12
8 a.m. - Brooklyn Ruritan Car show - held on the north edge of town. Open to all cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, race cars and special interest vehicles. Registration is $20 per vehicle and takes place from 8 – 11 a.m. with judging from 11 – 1:30 p.m. Awards at 3 p.m.