On Friday, Northwest residents marked National Flag Day two days early, honoring those who have fought or died for our country's freedom.

Under the covered entryway to SaddleBrooke HOA 1's clubhouse, more than 100 people marked the holiday, wearing shirts resembling the United States flag and hats of past military involvement.

Since Flag Day fell on a Sunday this year, and because of scheduling conflicts with the clubhouse, organized decided to move the event up a couple days.

The celebration, which was sponsored by Catalina Mountain Elks Lodge #2815 and SaddleBrooke HOA 1, opened with a performance by the Coyote Country and Hi-Horse Cloggers tap dancing to "Stormin' Norman," followed by a presentation of the Stars and Stripes and a singing of "Star Spangled Banner" by Norm Beasley.

Pat Cox, who is both on the Flag Day committee and a member of the Hi-Horse Cloggers, was on hand to make sure the event went according to plan, with fellow organizers Kathy Anderson and Jim Cox.

"Somebody told us that it was one of the best ones we have had," said Cox. "I thought it went pretty smoothly."

The annual celebration at SaddleBrooke began in 2002. The audience listened to a presentation on the history of the American flag. SaddleBrooke military veterans brought out eight different flags, in order, from the country's history. The presentation ended with the flag being raised by the Golder Ranch Fire District color guard.

Guest speaker Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu reminded the audience there are mature and well-rounded people overseas serving our country.

Organizers then played the songs of each military branch. When the music began, veterans of those branches stood, receiving a flag and a pin.

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