Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (2024)

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  • Alyssa Johnson
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Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (1)

If you ask Cathy Pischel what her favorite color is, she’ll tell you blue. But if she can choose more than one color, she would say red, white and blue.

For as long as she can remember, Cathy has been very proud of America. Through serving her country in the workforce and filling her home with patriotic decor, she displays an abundance of respect for her country and the American flag.

“I’ve always been very fond of the flag and very respectful of it,” Cathy said.

Cathy's love for the American flag seemed like fate when she was born on June 14 Flag Day.

“I always used to think when I was little that they were flying the flags for me,” Cathy said.

Cathy and her husband, Kennard Pischel, both grew up on farms near the Niobrara River and graduated high school together in 1965. Two weeks later, Cathy moved to Lincoln to attend a nine-month business course at the Lincoln School of Commerce while Kennard began studying accounting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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After taking a civil service test, Cathy and her cousin decided to move to Washington, D.C., to be secretaries for the U.S. Navy for a year. At 18 years old, a proud and dedicated Cathy was walking through the Pentagon in her high heels.

“It was quite an experience,” Cathy said. “It was very interesting for a young gal from Nebraska to have such an experience like that.”

When she returned to Lincoln, she married Kennard in August 1967.

After graduating, Kennard began working at UNL in the accounting administration where he handled financial books and contracts.

Cathy knew she wanted to continue serving her country so she took a job at Brunswick Corporation where they made missile launching tubes for the military. After a year there, Cathy decided to get back to a government role and began working at the Soil Conservation Service for the Department of Agriculture until her retirement in 2005.

“I wasn’t interested in the military, but yet, that was a way to serve my country,”Cathy said. “I wanted to do as good as I could for the country and so by working for the government, that was my way.”

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (2)

In 2002, Kennard said they purchased their first large flag pole for their home in southeast Lincoln.

“Even out on the farm I always liked the flag and then when we bought the house we said, ‘We’ve got to get a flagpole,’” Kennard said.

For over 20 years, they’ve had a flag flying on their flagpole, always with embroidered stars rather than screen-printed fabric. In the summer, it’s a nylon flag and in the colder months, the flag is changed out for a cotton polyester blend for a heavy-duty substitute.

“We always figure with the winter storms and stuff like that, it’ll last a little better,” Cathy said.

The flags tend to last between three and five years and when they begin to fray, Cathy brings it inside to mend what she can.

“We never let them get tattered,” Cathy said.

At the end of the flag’s life, they take it down and bring it to a nearby fire station so it can be properly disposed of.

Shortly after purchasing their large flag pole in 2002, they began displaying 3-by-5 foot flags around their yard. Weather permitting, the couple displays the stars and stripes along their fence, light pole and on their home for patriotic holidays including Memorial Day, Flag Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July.

“That’s our way of honoring the country, so to speak, on the holidays,” Cathy said.

A total of 10 flags are put out each time and are rotated through spares to keep them looking fresh. Kennard has a numbering system to help keep track of which flags go out for each holiday.

Their hard work to keep the flags flying comes from their love for their country and with Cathy’s special flag birthday. The majority comes from being a proud American, as it says on their front door.

The patriotism doesn’t stop at the doorway though. Inside, blue walls line the dining room where drawings and crafts from their two granddaughters show off the stars and stripes. Eagle decorations and more American flags line cabinets and walls.

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (3)

In the guest bedroom for their granddaughters, previous Old Glory calendars featuring monthly patriotic pictures decorate the walls. The tidy beds each have flag pillowcases, one with a patriotic quilt. In the corner hangs a large frame of red, white and blue golf balls arranged by one of their sons to resemble a flag.

In the basem*nt, another guest bedroom is lined with stars and stripes memorabilia including coffee mugs, boots, animals and popcorn tins. Some of the tokens have been purchased by the couple, most have been gifted.

Cathy said the flags and decorations help remind people of some of the looked-over holidays such as Flag Day and create conversations about the nation.

“We just want people to respect the flag,” Cathy said. “I know it’s everybody’s right to express their opinion, but with these people that burn flags and people that don't like the flag, to me, that’s disrespecting their country because the flag represents our country.”

Each Fourth of July, Cathy and Kennard gather with their two sons, daughters-in-law and granddaughters for a family picnic. When it gets darker, the flags are taken down to avoid accidental burns from stray fireworks.

“We kind of hunker down now because it just sounds like a war zone from all of that,” Cathy said.

Photos: American flags in Lincoln and throughout Nebraska

Girls in Seward with US flag, 2019

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (4)

Flag on gravesite, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (5)

Flag raised 1971

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (6)

Veterans raise flag before high school football, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (7)

Flag bedspread, 1974

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (8)

US flags at Strategic Air and Space Museum, 2012

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (9)

Arbor Day flags, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (10)

Flag at citizenship ceremony, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (11)

World Cup fan waving flag, 2014

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (12)

Flag Day, 1969

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (13)

Spring Game American flag, 2017

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (14)

Patricia Vondra with the flag, 1995

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (15)

Patriot Day Boy Scout with flag, 2014

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (16)

Skydiver at Cornhusker State Games with US flag, 2018

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (17)

Flag for Special Olympics Torch Run, 1995

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (18)

American flag at Lincoln Christian volleyball match, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (19)

Flag Day at Willard Community Center, 1996

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (20)

Constitution Day flags at Pyrtle Elementary, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (21)

Haines Branch School students and flag, 1993

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (22)

September 11 tailgate with flag, 2010

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (23)

Flags honor hostages' release in 1981

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (24)

Patriotic flag, American Legion Post 110, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (25)

Armed Forces Day, 1970

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (26)

American flag hangs at home, 1980

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (27)

Waverly football team with flag, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (28)

US, Nebraska flags outside Lincoln Southwest, 2010

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (29)

Dorchester 1957 flags retired

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (30)

Flag collector, 2011

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (31)

Marine Corps flag with American flags, 2007

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (32)

Flags at 52nd and Pioneers

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (33)

Flag raising near Chadron, 1970

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (34)

Cub Scout places American flag, 2006

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (35)

Fire station's American flag, 2015

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (36)

Homestead Act commemoration, 2012

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (37)

Flag near O Street, 2016

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (38)

American flag at Nebraska game, 2015

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (39)

Flags at Wyuka Cemetery, 2020

Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (40)

Reach the writer at 402-473-7241 or ajohnson2@journalstar.com. On Twitter @ajohnson6170

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Lincoln couple honors longstanding tradition of adorning house with U.S. flags (2024)

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