St. Vincent’s celebrates Flag Day

A Flag Day Ceremony was held at 10 a.m. Friday, at the St. Vincent’s Nursing Home on Washington Avenue, Dunkirk. The ceremony was conducted by members of American Legion Post 62 and the Dunkirk Joint Veterans Honor Guard.

The ceremony began with lowering of the current flag to be retired with honors. Resident veterans at the home were honored for their service including Henry Bielat, Frank Halicki, John Jesse, Peter Scott, Robert Torrey and Raymond Weaver, all Army and Army Air Corps Veterans. A speech was given in honor of Flag Day by Post 62 Commander Butch Piglowski who also read a Flag Education Essay written by Abbey VanWey, a 10 year-old fourth grader from Northern Chautauqua Catholic School entitled “What The Flag Means To Me.”

The crowd was so moved by her words, they all wanted a copy to keep because it was so sincere from her heart. It read: “To me, the flag is a symbol of my freedom. Without the flag I would have nothing to remind me of the people who fought for my freedom. Everyday when I come home from school, I say the Pledge of Allegiance. When I say it, I don’t just say it, I say it with pride, faith, and hope for all the soldiers hurt, recovering and most of all, fighting. Every time I see the flag it reminds me how lucky I am to people who are fighting right now for my freedom. Everyday I sit and wonder, what would the world be like without the military?

“I realize without the military we would never had been such a lucky country. So many people love and care for us. We have people in the military, firefighters and policemen. They care about us. Most people who really care have flags everywhere. I care and you should too! On the Fourth of July I go watch the fireworks. To me, all of the fireworks is a soldier. Before I go to bed, I pray for every person who has fought. I make sure to say thanks to everyone. That’s what the flag means to me.”

A new flag was raised by Cmdr. Piglowski and American Legion County Commander Craig Sutton to the bugle call of “To the Colors,” played by Dunkirk Joint Veterans bugler Ron Kulpa, followed by the Pledge and Allegiance and a concluding prayer, given by Dunkirk Joint Veterans Chaplain Sandy Tapasto. Dunkirk Joint Veterans Color Guard included David Dowd, CG Captain, Ben Rethlin, Dave Tabor Color Bearers.

Refreshments were served following the ceremony by Nursing Home Administrator Deborah A. Smith and staff, who presented the Veterans with tokens of their appreciation.