PITTSTON — As the red, white and blue of Old Glory waved under a deep blue, cloudless sky, Sam Guarnieri asked the question, “Where is everyone?”
The annual Flag Day ceremony sponsored by the Knights of Columbus John F. Kennedy Council No. 372 and Assembly No. 948 and held at the Pittston City Firehouse on Tuesday June 14 was sparsely attended.
Guarnieri, 89, a member of the Dupont VFW Color Guard, was befuddled as to why a ceremony on a day to honor the U.S. flag was not attended by more people.
“There should be more people here and more city officials,” Guarnieri said.
Mayor Jason Klush and City Controller Chris Latona were present for the ceremony.
Joining the Knights were the honor guards from Dupont VFW Post 4909 and the Greater Pittston AMVETS Post 189, along with the Knights of Columbus Color Corps. Principal speaker was Gerard “Jerry” Gurnari, AMVETS Past State Commander. Knights’ Faithful Navigator Fran Ankenbrand served as master of ceremonies.
The Second Continental Congress established Flag Day on June 14, 1777 by adopting the flag of the United States. It wasn’t until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day.
Ankenbrand opened the program with a moment of silence for those that lost their lives in the Orlando nightclub massacre earlier in the week before introducing the keynote speaker.
Gurnari quoted Wilson in his address. “Old Glory, this flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation,” he said.
“Today is not only Flag Day, but it’s also the United States Army’s birthday and being a soldier in the United States Army, I have double feelings of mixed emotions on this glorious day with the sun shining bright and clear blue skies here in America, safe at home,” Gurnari said.
Bernie Babonis, Dupont, who took part in the program as a part of the Dupont VFW Color Guard, served in Iceland while in the Army in 1956.
“The American public should always represent the American flag on Flag Day and every American honor their flag by putting their flag on display at their home,” Babonis said.