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Flag celebration moves to Penn College campus

In a year of cancellations, most of which were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Williamsport will host the 41st annual Flags Across America event, but with a slight twist.

There won’t be a march on West Fourth Street, but instead a single ceremony at 7 p.m. at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, beneath one of the largest flying American flags in the region.

“We are going to honor our nation on Flag Day and hold a ceremony,” said Robert Weaver, event co-coordinator with William Carlucci, an attorney and event speaker.

Both are on the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America Susquehanna Council Inc., and Scouts play a major role in the gathering.

“The city could not obtain a permit needed to hold the march on streets from the state Department of Transportation,” Weaver said.

Getting any kind of permit has been a challenge in a year of COVID-19, he said.

The change in plans means there won’t be a line up and gathering of participants at Nichols Place outside of Park Place. Instead, vehicles will be directed off Maynard Street and then park at the lot south of the Madigan Library on campus, southeast of the Bush Campus Center, he said.

Then, at about 6:30 p.m., there will be a short walk on campus over to the event, which begins at 7 p.m.

The normal participants including the Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, those riding bicycles decorated in red, white and blue, patriotic pet owners and others are invited to attend, he said.

Trophies will not be handed out this year, either, but the event coordinators will give certificates for those participating, Weaver said.

The event is named in honor of DiSalvo, a lifelong Boy Scout leader, who was the father of the Flag Day march since its inception, often seen handing out miniature flags for those who watched or walked in the parade.

Since about five years ago, Weaver and Carlucci took over the mantle coordinating the event.

“We want to remember how we as Americans can be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy,” Weaver said.

Among the entertainment will be players with the Repasz Brass Ensemble performing patriotic songs and an vocal quartet Pitch Please will perform the National Anthem.

The ceremony includes the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance. Dignitaries such as Lycoming County commissioners, Mayor Derek Slaughter and other state and U.S. representatives have been invited, Weaver said.

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