WILKES-BARRE — It was a red-white-and-blue Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.
Jim Walsh, a World War II veteran, announced a new organization — the U.S. American Flag Committee Fund — to raise money to purchase American flags to be displayed throughout the city.
“The American flag is our symbol of unity,” Walsh said with Mayor Tom Leighton and several veterans standing behind him. “The responsibility of remembrance falls to all of us — not just those serving in uniform — but every man, woman and child who woke up this morning in the land of the free.”
The organization, formed with the cooperation of Pennstar Bank, will raise money to buy flags to be displayed throughout the city, starting with the Market Street Bridge light poles. Butch Frati, the city’s director of operations, said PennDOT approved the city’s design for the flag displays on the bridge and work should commence immediately. He said the goal is to have them in place by Memorial Day.
Walsh said the second phase will place flags around Public Square and the third phase will place them on South Main, North Main and Coal streets.
“Remembering the fallen in a manner befitting their sacrifice is not a luxury; it is our solemn duty,” Walsh said. “The display of our nation’s flag is an outward expression of patriotism and love of country.”
Dave Lepore, assistant branch manager at the Kingston Pennstar Bank, said donations can be sent to any of the bank’s offices. Walsh said more information about the committee is available by calling him at 954-4920.
In addition to Walsh, Lepore, Leighton and Frati, representatives of all branches of the military attended the ceremony.
Walsh said many business and community leaders have already pledged their support.
“Our community is clearly excited and eager to see this project succeed,” Walsh said. “Pride in our community should be celebrated by all.”
Walsh presented a flag to all attendees to keep.