By C.J. Vetter
KYLE — The Kyle Area Senior Zone (KASZ) and A&R Auto Center celebrated Juneteenth with Kyle’s first flag raising ceremony on June 19 as part of an effort to help educate the community about the history of Juneteenth and celebrate its second anniversary as a federal holiday.
The holiday, which was signed into federal law by President Biden in 2021, commemorates the end of slavery following the Civil War. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, slavery did not officially end until 1865, when General Order No. 3 was issued, legally abolishing slavery in the state of Texas. The celebrations that followed were later recognized as Juneteenth, and quickly spread throughout Texas and across the U.S.
The event kicked off with a flag raising ceremony at Mary Kyle Hartson City Square Park where guests were asked to participate by helping raise the flag. Those in attendance were offered the chance to turn the crank, with each person helping get it a little bit further up. Children were also encouraged to take part in the flag raising as well.
“It was really powerful to see the kids participate. But everyone participated, everyone turned one crank on the flag,” said Dawn Conley, KASZ Program and Entertainment Coordinator. “It was just nice to celebrate a year anniversary.”
Following the raising, KASZ then provided an assortment of pastries within the Krug Activity Center alongside videos and small displays showing the history of Juneteenth. The KASZ also invited Constable David Peterson and council members Dex Ellison and Michael Tobias.
“When we found out there would be no celebration on June 19, we thought it would be a great idea to celebrate it with a flag raising ceremony since it’s been a year anniversary of becoming a federal holiday,” Conley said. “We wanted to help educate the community on the history of Juneteenth, and it would serve as a great way to bring the community together, remember our past and celebrate our future.”