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Culver's Freedom Flag

City Hall’s colors fly in honor of a Culver man’s grandson and all those who serve

by: Photo By Troy Foster - Bob Heare shows a picture of his grandson, Shane Keenum, who was deployed to Kuwait last Wednesday.

News Editor
   April 2, 2003 — Bob Heare’s American flag sat tucked away in a drawer for 17 years.
    He thought of it often, but didn’t quite know what to do with it. He only knew that it had a special purpose, and that one day he’d remove its shrink-wrap cover.
    When that day came, Heare knew, the flag would look as bright and colorful as the day it was presented to him during his father’s military funeral in 1985.
    Three weeks ago, that day finally came, when the flag was raised above Culver City Hall. “This is what I got the flag for,” Heare says. “There was a reason I kept that flag and this must have been it.”
    The flag will continue to fly at City Hall until Heare’s grandson comes home from war.
    His grandson, 20-year-old Shane Keenum, of Fort Hood, Texas, is serving with a unit known as the 13th Cos. Com. that backs up the 4th Infantry Division with ammunition and supplies. He was deployed to Kuwait last Wednesday.
    Heare thinks Shane is likely part of the forces forming the northern front in Iraq, and he prays for his safe return. Relatives have been told not to expect to hear from him for a month.
    When Shane returns safely, Heare says, the flag over Culver City Hall will be presented to him as a gift. Until then, it flies in honor of all those who serve their country.
    “It’s for all the veterans and all the military people and all those fighting in the gulf,” Heare says.
    Shane Keenum is a third-generation soldier. Heare’s father served in World War II on the USS Holland, a submarine, and was involved in the battle of Midway.
    Heare followed his father’s footsteps, joining the Army and serving in Korea from 1960-63.
    All three men joined the armed forces as volunteers.
    “When I grew up that was the thing to do,” Heare says. “I was always brought up that that was the responsible thing to do.”
    Heare talked to his grandson two weeks ago, and the conversation reminded him of the way he had felt before being deployed.
    Shane was anxious and excited, but he had no reservations.
    “He said, ’We’re just sitting around waiting and I want to go,’” Heare recalls. “I think that’s a good attitude.
    “He’s doing his duty. And it’s an adventure.”
    When Heare first pulled his father’s flag out of the old dusty drawer, he first thought about erecting a flag pole outside his home. Then the idea popped into his head to put it over City Hall in honor of all service men and women, current or former.
    The city’s staff embraced the flag with open arms.
    Heare, who is now semiretired with his wife, Joanne, after running the Culver Market after 21 years, says war and challenging times bring families closer together.
    Lately, he’s been more in touch with Shane’s other grandparents than he ever has been. They share a common goal. They want Shane home safe.
    “Before he left, I told him good luck,” Heare says. “I was proud of the job he was doing and I told him to come home safely.”
    A flag in honor of his service will be waiting for him.