Flag defender leaves large shoes to fill

July 4, 2013 

Alvin Marques is Mr. America in my books.

His recent death will leave a hole in the hearts of those who knew him and those who loved him. He was one of the first people I met when I came to Los Banos in 2001. Our first conversation was about the American flag and its importance.

I have never heard anyone utter a negative word about Alvin. In today's world, that is truly rare. Whenever the American flag was mentioned in conversation, it usually included Alvin's name somewhere in the discourse.

Alvin would come into the Enterprise office on a regular basis to hand deliver the list of schools at which the VFW and American Legion members would be performing their flag ceremonies. He wanted to make sure that a reporter would be at one of the schools to cover the event. He was always promoting the American flag and wanted others to do the same.

I enjoy covering high school football games. And I will always remember Alvin and the crew of veterans as they would arrive at every home game dressed perfectly and holding their flags as they would post the colors before the games. Alvin told me that he wanted people to remain standing after the national anthem until the colors had left the field. He felt very strongly about that.

I photographed Alvin on the sidelines of Loftin Stadium the night that he retired from the color guard. I will admit I was sad that I would no longer see him carrying the flag. He was part of the game and we will miss him.

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