Flags Across America March honors late founder’s patriotism

RALPH WILSON/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Peeking out between the American flags that decorate his wagon is Oliver Duitch of Williamsport. His wagon was one of many wagons and strollers walking in the Anthony Disalvo Flags Across America March in Williamsport on Friday.

The atmosphere was as if Anthony DiSalvo special ordered it.

That is what Jack McKernan, Lycoming County commissioner, and others said Friday at the 2019 Anthony DiSalvo Flags Across America March in Williamsport.

Sponsored by the city Recreation Department, the march brought out the floats, Boy and Cub Scouts, dogs dressed in red, white and blue garb and musical accompaniment from the Repasz Band — all gathered at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. But not before they assembled outside the Peter Herdic Museum at Nichols Place, and were led by police and Lycoming County sheriff’s deputies for about a quarter of a mile through the city’s Historic District, waving flags to onlookers proudly displaying their colors.

Those unable to walk were given trolley service by River Valley Transit.

DiSalvo was honored with the name of the parade and march because of his founding of the event as a Distinguished Eagle Scout among those in the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

DiSalvo never missed a single jamboree of the Scouts in 50 years.

“I think he’s watching,” said Dr. Joseph English, DiSalvo’s close friend since teenage years.

DiSalvo, who passed away Feb. 4 at the age of 89, was a lifelong resident of Williamsport. The son of immigrants, his father had instilled in him a deep sense of patriotism.

For about 39 years had honored the flag on Flag Day, said Bill Carlucci, master of ceremonies.

“We’re forever in his debt,” Carlucci said of DiSalvo. “This will be immortal for Tony. It bears witness of his love of his family, his country and the flag of the United States of America.”

DiSalvo created an endowment, a living testament to his vision. Every year on Flag Day as the God, Country and Community Flag March moves along the streets of the city, everyone should remember DiSalvo, who founded the event over 30 years ago to honor the flag.

DiSalvo always attended the marches, walking along, handing out flags to the spectators lining the streets.

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Middleburg, remarked how the nation and world just gave tribute to the troops on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The patriotic activity brought out Mayor Gabriel J. Campana for a final time as mayor and Commissioners Rick Mirabito and Tony Mussare.

The finale is when trophies were handed out for: Best Patriotic Costume; Largest Family Group; Largest Male Scout Group; Largest Female Scout Group; Largest Veteran Group; and Best Decorated Wagon or Stroller.