Michael Underwood and Grandma Rhonda Bohall prepare American flags at the Elks Lodge for this yearís Fourth of July celebration in downtown Medford. Mail Tribune Photo / Jamie Lusch. - Jamie Lusch

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American flags will fly in downtown Medford this Fourth of July thanks to a group of residents who want the city to give Old Glory its due.

"It's really exciting when you're the only community in the area without flags, and then, you can say, 'Come downtown on July Fourth, and you can see them,' " said Rhonda Bohall of the Medford Downtown Flag Committee that formed a year ago.

The red, white and blue has flown regularly on Independence Day in the cities of Ashland, Central Point, Eagle Point and Jacksonville. But Jackson County's largest city has spent the Fourth largely unadorned.

Last year, the lack of patriotic embellishment led one Mail Tribune reader to inquire in the newspaper's Since You Asked column why no flags flew on July Fourth in downtown Medford.

The July 10 feature spurred some volunteers to change things, said committee member Dani Wing, of the Medford Emblem Club.

The volunteers, from the Kiwanis of Medford, Emblem Club, Elks Club, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Medford Chamber of Commerce, formed the Downtown Flag Committee to bring flags to Medford.

"The American flag is an emotional thing," said committee member Carlene Pratt. "It means a lot to our country and our servicemen. If we can't show support by doing this, then, there's something wrong."

The 10-member committee met one to three times a month preparing for the July Fourth decorations and working with city officials to ensure traffic signals and parking wouldn't be obstructed by the display.

With their own funds, they purchased 62 flags at about $50 each as well as brackets to fasten flagpoles to downtown's lampposts.

Bohall's husband, Forest Bohall, welded the brackets to the flag poles, which were donated by Doug Seeley, of Oregon Fir Millwork. Pratt's husband, Dale, painted the flagpoles.

The committee is seeking volunteers to help display the flags and could use donations to help cover the cost of the flags and to pay for future maintenance.

Medford City Council last week approved the committee's plan to place the flags in downtown on July 4.

The committee also received the go-ahead to fly the flags on other holidays during the year.

Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or

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