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Uniontown organization's dream realized as huge flag placed at mall

| Monday, Nov. 12, 2012, 12:08 a.m.
Fred Kridle of Uniontown, a member of VFW Post 8543 in North Union Township, pauses briefly after performing taps at the beginning of the dedication of a 30-by-60-foot American flag by The Fayette County Flag Committee on Sunday, November 11, 2012. The flag was flown at half-staff and then raised after crowds honored those who have served the country. Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Tech Sgt. Rick Adams of the 171st Air Refueling Wing in Pittsburgh, who sustained injuries in Afghanistan spring of 2012 during a rocket attack, offers a salute at the dedication of a 30-by-60-foot American flag that was erected by The Fayette County Flag Committee on Sunday, November 11, 2012. The flag was flown at half-staff and then raised after crowds honored those who have served the country. Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Fred Kridle of Uniontown, a member of VFW Post 8543 in North Union Township, pauses briefly before performing taps at the beginning of the dedication of a 30-by-60-foot American flag by the Fayette County Flag Committee on Sunday, November 11, 2012. The flag was flown at half-staff and then raised after crowds honored those who have served the country. Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review

The Fayette County Flag and American Memorial Dedication became a reality on Veterans Day.

Patriotic music and speeches filled the air on Sunday at the Uniontown Mall, where hundreds of people gathered for the dedication ceremony.

“We chose to follow history and thus selected this day to raise and dedicate the largest flag in Fayette County,” said Pam Moore, the mall's general manager and a member of the Fayette County Flag and Veterans' Memorial Committee, which had worked on the project for more than a decade.

The 30- by 60-foot flag was raised from half-staff to the top of the 120-foot pole as the VFW Post 8543 Band played patriotic music.

Norman Zimmerman, committee chairman and president of the United Veterans of Fayette County, said the committee had to beg and borrow to make the project become a reality.

“We didn't steal anything,” Zimmerman said, “but we did borrow pickup trucks, water pumps, generators, concrete vibrators and transits. We even borrowed laborers and equipment operators and volunteers to do a partial practice of raising (the flag) on Friday afternoon.”

Zimmerman said the committee is not done.

“We must sell more engraved paving bricks, benches and monuments,” he said. “Donations are a big help. The people that bought paving bricks and benches years ago will get what they paid for.”

His wife, Cathy, said she asked to be included as a speaker.

“I want to salute all of you here who are veterans and say thank you for doing what I know I could not,” Cathy Zimmerman said.

“This flag was the symbol for many immigrants, including our grandmothers and grandfathers who came here hoping for work and a new life,” she added. “They raised their families in our patch towns, became naturalized citizens and respected and followed the laws of this land.”

Lou Giachetti, president of the United Veterans of Uniontown and commander of the American Legion Post 51, said a flag is a reminder “of the greatness of our America.”

“We cherish and uphold it because it is the standard of honor under which we live,” Giachetti said. “We view the flag with devotion for it represents our national heritage of noble deeds, splendid accomplishments and untold sacrifices which combined to establish the moral character of our foundation.”

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writerfor Trib Total Media.

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