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Members fly nations' flags to greet world

PROVO, Utah — To welcome the world to Utah for the 2002 Olympics, Bishop Merril Bingham and his wife, Lynda, drew upon the worldwide experiences of their family.

Merril and Lynda Bingham fly flags of countries where family members have served missions.
Merril and Lynda Bingham fly flags of countries where family members have served missions. Photo: Photo by Greg Hill

Encouraged by community leaders in Provo to display international flags during the Olympics, the Binghams decided to fly flags of the nations where family members served missions.

They were joined by many other Provo residents who caught the flag-flying spirit. Visitors to Provo are greeted by colorful displays on nearly every street with one to dozens of flags of many sizes flying on flag poles, hanging from eaves and porches of houses and businesses, in windows, or draped and strung in various other ways. Neighboring Orem also shares the enthusiasm for flags as do many Utahns throughout the state.

Prior to the Olympics, Provo searched for a way to get its residents more involved in the spirit of the Games, said Provo Mayor Lewis Billings. "We wanted to find a way to make the city look like we were welcoming the world. We thought, 'Why don't we use international flags?' "

The mayor pointed out that a great number of Provo residents have ties to other countries because of Church service, educational travels, ancestry, military service or employment, and could draw on those experiences in choosing flags to put on display. He has posted in his yard a flag of Japan, where he served his mission, along with several other flags chosen for various reasons by other family members.

The Binghams have added to the American flag on the pole outside their home the flag of Australia, where Bishop Bingham served his mission and flags of Japan, Uruguay, Italy and Spain, countries where their children and/or children's spouses have served. Many others in their Grandview 17th Ward of the Provo Utah Grandview South Stake, have added to the festive look of the neighborhood with similar displays, enhancing the spirit of the Olympics and welcoming the world.

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