Height Of History
Four Flags fly at Crescent Park after ceremony
The south side of the Allegheny River in Warren looks more complete today.
That’s because the Four Flags fly again — the flags were raised after a ceremony Saturday.
Each of the flags were formally presented as part of Saturday’s ceremony held at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Pleasant Township due to inclement weather.
John McGarry with the Warren Exchange Club presented the Seneca Nation of Indians flag, City of Warren police officer Tyler Wagner the French flag, American Legion Post 135 the Union Jack and Fran Perrin with the Daughters of the American Revolution the American Flag.
Boy Scout Troop 13 then raised each flag while the respective anthems of those nations were played.
Josh Cotton, the speaker for the event, shared the story of Marshall Larsen, a local “Doughboy” killed in France in 1918, linking his story back to Crescent park.
“The Four Flags, Birdstone, the Pioneer monument and military memorial further down the trail are all part of this community’s story,” he said.
“Never was that more true than in the wake of World War I when memorial trees were planted for many of the community’s honored dead here at Crescent Park. Several of the plaques that were once affixed to the trees can be found at the base of that monument down the trail.”
Larsen was part of the third contingent of soldiers to leave Warren County and was killed in France on July 18, 1918, just four months before the war would end.
Letters from Larsen — a frequent letter writer — stopped completely and the family heard nothing until February when the Red Cross reported him killed, a fact an April message from the War Department did not confirm.
“There was a reason the government never informed the family that Larsen had been killed,” Cotton said. “That’s because to this day he remains missing in action.”
There is also, he explained, a one-in-4,000 chance that Larson is the unidentified soldier who rests in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
“This is a weekend to celebrate. For the first time in a year we can come together for an event like this,” Cotton added. And while those are great things to celebrate… It’s my hope that being able to put a face to the name of a missing soldier on a monument brings to life you just what this weekend is about.”
John Shaughnessy said the event has been inside just two times in the last 15 years, the most recent being 2005.