DICKSON CITY, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– A local veterans organization and members of the community were out in Dickson City making sure that the largest permanent American flag in northeast Pennsylvania stays serviceable.
Veterans Promise is an organization that aims to reach out and support vets in need. Issues can be from financial hardships to drug and alcohol abuse or keeping them from becoming a harrowing statistic of veteran suicide.
The mission of the day was much more uplifting for organization president David Ragan and company.
“We are here to replace the damaged flag. It’s the biggest flag in northeast Pennsylvania,” Ragan said. “We wanted to get all our veterans out here, first responders, police officers, firefighters, to come out and participate in a community event and honor Old Glory.”
The group started small, but community members and other veterans flocked to the parking lot that you can spot from I-81 or Route 6. That was great news as the 40′ by 80′ flag needed all hands on deck.
“Well, obviously, the most important thing that we do is to not ever let it touch the ground,” Ragan added. “So we need as many people as we can to get as many hands on it so we can protect our colors and make sure it gets properly put away. Then we want to get the new one up as quick as possible, without it touching the ground.”
The mission took just over 30 minutes and was a success. Veterans Promise vice president Raymond Stender knows that those present had a special attachment to the mission and the massive colors.
“The American flag stands for a lot and it has been through a lot. I don’t think a lot of people stop and take the time to realize all the battles that it’s gone through, the heartaches it’s endured,” said Stender. “So for veterans, once you serve, there’s a love that you develop for this. It doesn’t go away.”
The process needs to be repeated routinely as a flag this size is more prone to getting beaten up in the weather, but Veterans Promise and the community that came out are more than willing to lend a helping hand with making sure that you can spot some major patriotism off the highway on your way through northeastern Pennsylvania.