On this Flag Day, time to be thankful for our freedoms

We hope you will fly the American flag from your front porch today, Flag Day, and keep it there through the July 4 holiday.

Do it to show your patriotism and love of this country, regardless of where you are on the political spectrum.

Do it as a show of support for the future of this great nation.

Do it for Anthony DiSalvo.

DiSalvo, the son of Italian immigrants, was incredibly devoted to our country and our flag. This was a trait he developed as a young boy under his father’s tutelage.

A Boy Scout leader who went to every Boy Scout jamboree from 1936 until his death two years ago, DiSalvo was instrumental in the founding of the God, Country and Community Flag March held annually for more than three decades in Williamsport.

The march was named in DiSalvo’s honor upon his death at the age of 89 in February 2019.

That year saw another march, and then COVID-19 ushered in a wave of restrictions against large events and gatherings. There was no parade, understandably, one year ago.

Now the state has been relaxing its restrictions, but that does not seem to apply to the state Department of Transportation.

As has occurred since the onset of the pandemic with a multitude of parades and last September’s 9-11 Ride, the parade that would have been held tonight won’t happen because the city could not obtain a permit from PennDOT to hold the march on streets.

This is unfortunate.

This parade demonstrates our community’s ideals as part of the bigger landscape of freedom-loving Americans across our nation.

It provides an opportunity to bring these ideals to life in the eyes of our children.

Not holding this parade, or a Veterans Day Parade, or Memorial Day or any other parade changes the way we connect in profound commemoration of what it has taken to become who we are as a people.

While PennDOT’s continued resistance to providing parade permits seems downright unpatriotic on this particular day, Pennsylvania College of Technology has done the right thing by welcoming a gathering at the large flag on their campus, just off of Maynard Street.

Besides Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and others with a patriotic spirit, the Repasz Brass Ensemble will perform patriotic songs and a vocal quartet Pitch Please will perform the National Anthem. Participants will be invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

“We want to remember how we as Americans can be thankful for the freedoms we enjoy,” said Robert Weaver, event co-coordinator with William Carlucci, both members of the executive board of the Susquehanna Council, Boy Scouts of America.

And that is the important message of the day, the gratitude for our freedoms that we should have but sometimes take for granted.

For today, let’s be thankful to be alive, in this free nation, in this moment in time, acknowledging that we are among the most fortunate people on Earth.

Let’s show it by flying the American flag at our business places and on our front porches.

Let’s show it by going to Penn College for tonight’s observation of Flag Day.

And let’s hope that by this time next year, the red, white and blue will be marched through the streets of Williamsport once again, just like in the days when Anthony DiSalvo was front and center, in his glory.


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