Just in time for Independence Day, an American flag was again waving at the entrance of the Pine Bluff Country Club grounds on Wednesday.
About 35 people took part in a flag-raising ceremony in which Simmons First National Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tommy May and his wife, Kathryn, were saluted for having donated American, state and country club banners, flag poles and associated landscaping services to the establishment.
Country club President Gene Hudson — who said a previous flag pole had been destroyed in an accident — praised the couple, and noted that Tommy May is “very strong in his beliefs” concerning the nation’s liberty.
Hudson said America’s celebration today of its 237th anniversary of independence is a testament to “special men and women” who continue to be dedicated to the principles of freedom.
“Our nation counts on capable coaches, teachers, soldiers and business leaders who are committed to their beliefs,” Hudson said. Speaking of May, he added, “We are fortunate that in Pine Bluff, we are blessed with such a person.”
Hudson credited May with possessing a “high energy level in whatever he is doing.”
“Tommy May is either helping people with educational needs, caring for the sick or assisting in whatever is needed,” Hudson said. “He’s very motivated to help others.”
May, who typically shies away from public acclaim, shook his head negatively.
“This isn’t about me,” May said. “It’s about our club.”
May, who said he “loves this city,” then preceded to name others who had shared in the flag effort and said he was “proud to be a part” of the effort.
As Kathryn May raised the American flag, onlookers saluted or placed a hand over their hearts while singing the national anthem.
In his remarks, Hudson also touched on the history of Arkansas’ state flag, which was designed just over a century ago by teacher Willie Mae Hocker of Wabbaseka and Pine Bluff. Hocker’s creation was declared as the state’s official banner by the Arkansas legislature on Feb. 25, 1913.