Rally 'round the flag. And rally they did Tuesday at two Fairfield senior housing complexes in support of the Stars and Stripes and the troops that fight to preserve freedom.

The occasion was a Flag Day ceremony highlighted by the raising of an American flag flown over Afghanistan by the soldiers of Task Force Thunder while deployed to Kandahar Air Base.

Veterans at the neighboring housing complexes at Pine Tree Lane and Trefoil Court, many of them from the Vietnam era, were given a thank-you as well as bookmarks as a token of their service to the nation. Sharon Bloom, a former auxiliary officer for the Fairfield Police Department who recently returned from Afghanistan, also attended.

"One of the things that impressed me with this ceremony was the blending of generations in tribute to our soldiers, our country, our flag," said Rita Waterman, vice chairwoman of the Fairfield Housing Authority. In addition to the different generations of veterans, 29 fourth-graders from Lisa Bettke's music class at McKinley School were on hand to perform and lead the gathering in a patriotic songs.

Notable attendees included state Rep. Brenda Kupchick and First Selectman Michael Tetreau.

The American flag raised at the ceremony was a gift from soldiers serving overseas in return for care packages sent their way from Project from the Heart, a Fairfield-based group that began sending care packages in the Vietnam era and revived its giving for Operation Enduring Freedom about a decade ago. Norine Zalenski, a member of Project from the Heart, had suggested using one of two flags it had received from soldiers for a Flag Day ceremony. If all goes as planned, the second flag will be raised on Flag Day at Trefoil Court next year.

Zalenski said this year's event was "super," adding that she sees no end in sight for the care packages she and others prepare for the troops every week. They group plans to keep on sending the packages as long as they are needed.

"My heart is full when I do a package," she said. "There is nothing greater than filling a box full of supplies knowing that when that solider receives it, it is like opening up a Christmas gift."