Posted by John Donovan
In the world of Rotary, March is Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Month.  D5710 clubs have a long history of water and sanitation projects in Guatemala and Panama.  Rotary has a RAG – a Rotarian Action Group, that supports and provides assistance to club and district water projects.  If your club (or you, as an individual) have an interest in water and sanitation, here and abroad – WASH-RAG is the place to start.  You can find a listing of on-going water projects being planned by clubs around the world that are always looking for partner clubs.
13-19 March is  World Rotaract Week.  And these days, Rotaract is not oh-so-last-decade’s Rotaract.
And now for a little bit of history – did you know Rotary has an official flag?  And that it has a local connection? The flag was formally adopted by RI during the 1929 Convention in Dallas, Texas. The first “official” version of the Rotary flag consisted of the “legacy Wheel” centered on a white background. you can now get that flag with the new branding and with either a white or blue background.  According to Past RI President Cliff Dochterman, “…the first official Rotary flag was flown in Kansas City, Missouri, in January 1915. In 1922 a small Rotary flag was carried over the South Pole by Admiral Richard Byrd, a member of the Rotary Club of Winchester, Virginia, U.S.A. Four years later, the admiral carried a Rotary flag in his expedition to the North Pole.  I’ve included a grainy picture of that first flag, flown by Kansas City Club 13, the club that many of our District clubs descend from.
The flag has gotten around.  Even to the Moon (well, a club banner went to the Moon, but let’s not quibble).  The Rotary Club of Homantin Hill, Hong Kong, reports that in 1932, Professor Auguste Piccard was presented a flag by the Rotary Club of Zurich, Switzerland, and he carried it on his balloon ascent 55,777 feet into the stratosphere. In 1933, the Rotary Club of Houghton, Michigan, U.S.A., took the Rotary International banner to the bottom of the shaft of the Quincy Copper Mine – 6,254 feet deep.
US Astronaut Frank Borman, a member of the Rotary Club of Space Center (Houston), Texas, U.S.A., carried not a flag, but a club banner on the Apollo 8 flight for the first manned orbit of the moon on Christmas Eve, 1968. He presented it, framed on a plaque, to Rotary International at the Honolulu Convention in 1969.
In 2005, in commemoration of Rotary’s centennial, Rotarian and Rotaract climbers carried flags to the summits of Mount McKinley and Mount Everest.
So, if your club meeting space displays the US and State flags, you can always consider adding the Rotary flag to the mix.