Around Town | May 22, 2020 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 22, 2020

Around Town

SEEING STARS ... Anyone passing through University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto this Monday will notice American flags — 65 to be exact — along the main thoroughfare. Setting up the banners with the iconic red and white stripes and 50 stars has been a longtime tradition of the Palo Alto University Rotary Club on Memorial Day, but the manpower has dramatically dropped due to the coronavirus crisis. Usually, about 30 people — a group made up of veterans, club members (many of whom are older) and children — set up the flags in about 30 minutes. Afterward, they gather at a local bakery, where they socialize over breakfast. This Monday, only three club members will take that job: Larry Christenson, a 40-year resident and retired naval aviator; Richard Schoelerman, an 18-year resident; and Katie Cooney, the club's president. The club was initially hesitant to move forward because of social-distancing rules and stay-at-home orders. "We really don't want to have a lot of people there bumping into each other," Christenson said. On top of honoring veterans, the club also intends to recognize small businesses downtown. "(They)make significant sacrifices to not only survive, but to keep Palo Alto as Palo Alto," Christenson said. "I think there'll be a greater appreciation of seeing the flags out on the street." The club also sets up the flags on three other federal holidays each year: Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day.

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