Freeport Flag Ladies on the record: Film, comments go beyond weekly vigil

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FREEPORT — A local man has made a documentary film that he hopes captures the dedication of the Freeport Flag Ladies, so that soldiers and military veterans around the country can hear their story.

Walter Skold began making the film, “One Tuesday Morning,” in May 2011 and finished last December. The 67-minute documentary is available online for rent or download. 

“I always told them over the years, ‘someone needs to make a movie about you,'” Skold said. “I just knew if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done.”

JoAnn Miller, Carmen Footer, and Elaine Greene have been standing on Main Street, waving American flags every Tuesday morning since 9/11. Although it can be bitterly cold at times, their complaints aren’t about the weather.

Greene on Jan. 13 said people, especially millennials, need to come together to make change. She said a lot of young people don’t understand what’s going on in Congress or in the war on terror, and therefore aren’t doing enough to change anything.

Greene said too many people need tragedy to occur in order to feel compelled to help the country. 

“I wish they would unite together without having something blow up in their faces first,” she said.

Greene also admitted that before 9/11 she’d “never given much thought to it before, that I lived in a free nation.” 

She said many people only care about material things, such as money, when they should be focusing on how to help the country. She said everyone in the country pitched in during World War II, but today younger generations are too focused on themselves.

At the end of their lives, she said, those people will realize that was “a hollow thing to care about.”

Greene made many sweeping generalizations about younger people and what she described as their lack of understanding of the U.S. political system and of the country’s involvement overseas. She said young people also don’t understand what it’s like to be a soldier coming home after fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

Miller said she hopes Skold’s film reminds civilians and soldiers that each group cares about the other.

“I hope it will touch people to remember how much (soldiers and veterans) have sacrificed for them,” Miller said. “We hope (soldiers and veterans) will realize that there are people who care that they’re putting their lives at risk.”

Skold said he hopes the film helps the families of those who are serving or who have served in the military. He said he wants as many people to see the film as possible and that he’s planning on sending it to the Pentagon’s film department.

Skold said the Freeport Flag Ladies have met more than 150,000 soldiers over the past 13 years. He said he wants the film to show those soldiers and their families who the flag ladies are, beyond their weekly vigil.

“I’m really eager to make sure the film gets into the hands of the military people that met them,” Skold said. “(Soldiers) only met them for five minutes. I want them to know the rest of their story.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

Sidebar Elements

Freeport resident Walter Skold, center, recently finished a documentary film about Freeport Flag Ladies Carmen Footer, left, JoAnn Miller, and Elaine Greene. On Tuesday, Jan. 13, they stood on Main Street with signs showing their support for the people of France following the Jan. 7 Charlie Hebdo attack.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.