The annual Four Flags ceremony at Heritage Point in Crescent Park was held under a bright sun, while a stiff and chilly northern breeze came off the Allegheny River.
Tim Greenlund served as master of ceremonies again this year, introducing each flag, as a color guard from Boy Scout Troop 21 hoisted them into a deep blue sky. Mark Davis played Song of Mother Earth for the Seneca Nation of Indians Flag, and the Elks Club Band played La Marseillaise, God Save the Queen and The Star Spangled Banner for the French, British and American flags, respectively.
Greenlund said, "I'm very pleased and privileged to have the honor to introduce our guest speaker today. (Dr.) Howard Ferguson has given so much to our community. He has been a teacher, a principal, assistant superintendent, acting superintendent, a superintendent in Forest Area School District and at the Sherman School District in Sherman, New York, and currently serves on City of Warren Council."
Times Observer photo by Rob Andersen
Four flags over Warren
The 45th annual flag raising ceremony was held at Heritage Point in Crescent Park on Saturday. The Invocation was given by Father Jim Gutting of the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. Music was presented by the Elks Club Band and the Conewango Clippers barbershop chorus. Boy Scouts from Troop 21, Grace United Methodist Church, performed honor guard duties. The Four Flags Committee was composed of members from the Exchange Club, Kiwanis Club, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Warren Jaycees and the Zonta Club.
Ferguson said, "This is a day when we can honor those who have fallen on behalf of our country as well as those who have served and not fallen. It is also an opportunity to celebrate those who presently serve in the armed forces of our country and protect the very freedoms we are enjoying here this morning.
He continued, "All of us have a military heritage. It may be a heritage based on the service of others, it may be a more personal heritage of our own family being in the military, or ourselves.
"It is important to recall not just why they fought, but also what they did not fight for. The United States has a wonderful heritage of not fighting to conquer other lands, we are not trying to destroy other cultures, we are only attempting to save the world from despotism, injustice and inequality. So these people fought for the common good," he said.
He said Warren is a very fortunate community, with positive features built by the people of Warren that define it, such as restoration of the Warren Public Library and Warren General Hospital, the recent Warren Gives program, the United Way that "amazingly, every year meets its goal," and a large number of others that rely on volunteers and community support.
He cited the efforts to establish Founder's Day as a special gift because it was led by children. He called Wesley Kiehl to the podium, as a representative of Judy Williams' class at St. Joseph's School.
Ferguson noted that it is sometimes not so difficult to find the proper words to honor veterans, and he paraphrased a portion Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address saying, "It is for us to be dedicated here to the work they have so nobly advanced. That this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth."