In honor of National Flag Day, Niagara County Clerk Joseph A. Jastrzemski presented a flag-raising ceremony on Friday, unveiling three new flagpoles in which U.S. military veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Middle East raised the American, state and county flags in front of the county courthouse.
The American flag raised at the courthouse was sent from Congressman Chris Collins, who flew it over the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington in dedication to Niagara County and its veterans.
Jastrzemski, in conjunction with Chairman of Niagara County Legislature Keith McNall and Veterans Service Agency Director Jeff Glatz, presented proclamations to each veteran on behalf of Collins and Niagara County.
Among the veterans honored were Anthony Moley, U.S. Army 35th Infantry Division, serving in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II; Frank Jastrzemski, U.S. Army, serving in the Battle of Inchon during the Korean War; Don (Doc) James MacSwan, U.S. Army combat medic, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry Division, and Charlie Company 2nd Platoon in the Vietnam War; Airman First Class Katie L. Graves, U.S. Air Force, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom during the Iraq War; Clyde L. Burmaster, E-5 sergeant, U.S. Army 4th Division, 22nd Infantry, 2nd Battalion, and Headquarters Company; and David Godfrey, E-5 sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps., 3rd Marine Amphibious Forces, serving in the TET Offensive in the Vietnam War.
While the flags were being raised, Chief Court Clerk Michael Veruto and New York State Court Officer Sgt. Peter Robinson sang the National Anthem and “God Bless America”, respectively.
During the ceremony, McNall extended his gratitude to all veterans.
“It is today that we need to take a moment and think about the American flag, what it stands for, and what it truly means to be an American,” he said. “We must, as a people, remember that we owe our servicemen and women a debt we can never fully repay.”
Jastrzemski, who planned the ceremony, also expressed his thanks and purpose for holding this special event.
“It is important that we honor all of the veterans who served this great country,” he said. “Our flag symbolizes the precious freedoms that we hold dear, and those freedoms remain because they were fought for by these brave men and women in uniform.”