If the walls of the Rotary Club of Salisbury could speak, oh the stories they would share.
It’s really not so much what the District 7630 club’s walls in Salisbury have heard in their 93 year history-as that alone would be impressive given its legacy as the first service club of any organization to be chartered on the Delmarva Peninsula just 20 years into the 20th century — no, it’s rather what now adorns nearly every wall of the club-a global roadmap of goodwill and better friendships that could have Rotarians recounting stories well into the wee hours of countless Maryland nights.
Proudly on display inside the Rotary Scout and Community Center, where the club meets every Thursday evening, is a collection of 450 Rotary exchange flags in an assortment sizes, shapes and colors representing 120 nations.
Emblazoned upon them are the names of clubs from all corners of the world, including the very first chartered club in 1905, The Rotary Club of Chicago.
The project has been a personal labor of love for the Rotary Club of Salisbury’s Club Historian, Bob Brown, a 30 year Rotarian. It involved not only finding someone from the club who actually remembered where the flags were being stored, but then gently moving the decaying banners to Brown’s home where they could be gingerly rolled out.
Next step was carefully removing and cleaning each club’s flag and remounting it onto new blue felt banners that now stretch from the club’s ceiling to its floor.
“In a club that’s 93 years old with a lot of members who were and are as passionate about travel as they are about visiting the different Rotary clubs, it wasn’t too difficult for us to build this impressive collection of exchange flags over the years,” said Brown. “What’s unique, we believe, is that our club is able to permanently display them all in one location. That’s the benefit of owning our own building.”
Brown points out that there are 34,558 Rotary clubs worldwide who have their own exchange flags.
“I’m not sure we’ll get to them all, but we’ll be honored to hang any that make their way back to our club,” added Brown. “It’s also neat to know that there are 450 Rotary Club of Salisbury exchange flags out there all around the world, and each with a similar story.”