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October 12, 2005

Nostalgia Time. The Avenue of Flags; Do You Remember?

Hermitage, PA. A man decides to put up one flag for every day Americans are kept hostage. Read it all.
Just to highlight:

While families of the hostages will always carry the memory of the Iranian hostage crisis close to their hearts, many Americans became more and more detached as each day of captivity passed. All too soon Americans watched news updates on the crisis with the feeling of indifference as they lost track of the duration of captivity.

But Tom Flynn, owner of Hillcrest Memorial Park, was convinced that this period in American history was too important to forget and determined to find a way to help Hermitage and the nation remember.

With the help of unemployed steel workers in the Valley and flags donated by the families of veterans buried at Hillcrest, Flynn decided to erect an American flag for each day the hostages had been held. On day 100, the first 100 flags were flown. In a special ceremony that evening, Mr. and Mrs. Matrinko of Oliphant, Pennsylvania (near Scranton) raised the 100th flag and lighted a flame of freedom for their son, Michael, who was still being held a captive. The flame would burn until Michael was able to come home and extinguish it. Flynn further committed to add a flag to the memorial for each day the hostages were held. Little did he know that this commitment would mean 344 additional flags.


Truthfully, this whole episode is a childhood memory to me, but I do remember the thought "But we're the US, isn't there something we can do?"
Over 1,000 flags were used to keep the flags flying during the original 444 days, as the flags needed to be replaced three to four time a year. All but 100 of these original flags were donated by supporters from all around the world. Most of them had once draped the casket of an American veteran. The flags represented periods in history from the Spanish-American War through the Vietnam conflict. One Canadian flag also flies on the Avenue in recognition of the Canadian embassy's help in saving six hostages from captivity and eventually returning them to freedom.

Emphasis mine. But I'm a big fan of repetition:
People gave the flags from the caskets of their beloved departed to be used up in this memorial.

The four hundred forty-four flag memorial has been maintained and still stands to this day.


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posted by LauraW. at 12:03 AM

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