Pittsburgh, National Flag Foundation mark Flag Day with a salute
Fire sirens in Pittsburgh and more than 70 cities across the United States sounded for 30 seconds and then went silent for 30 seconds at 11:45 a.m. Friday in recognition of Flag Day.
The nationwide nod to the American flag was organized by the Pittsburgh-based National Flag Foundation.
At the United Steelworkers Building in Pittsburgh’s Downtown, elected officials and union leaders described the Stars and Stripes as a symbol of freedom for all Americans.
“The ability to say yes. The ability to say no. The ability to disagree is what makes our democracy special,” said Darrin Kelly, president of the Allegheny/Fayette Central Labor Council and a Pittsburgh firefighter. “One symbol that unites all of our differences will always be our flag.”
Romel L. Nicholas, chairman of the National Flag Foundation’s board of directors, noted the presence of union and business leaders and Republicans and Democrats in the crowd and stressed that the flag represents no political parties or philosophy.
“It’s the position of the National Flag Foundation that our flag embraces all Americans regardless of color, religion, sexual preference or national origin,” Nicholas said. “We are all one nation under God, and our flag is our common ground. All those involved today are using this Flag Day to send a nationwide message. It’s time to begin healing the historical divisions in our country.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, presented a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol to the foundation. A U.S. Marine Corps color guard hoisted it up a pole at the Steelworkers building during a short ceremony.
“This is a day to celebrate unity and civility,” Doyle said. “We need to do that in our country. We are sadly a divided nation as I stand here and speak today, and we all have a responsibility as we look in the mirror each day to ask ourselves how do we further the cause of civility and how do we say things that are unifying and not dividing. Today is a good day to remember that.”
The Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Pittsburgh is sponsoring a Pittsburgh light-up night Friday when buildings will be lit in red, white and blue.
The National Flag Foundation is a nonpolitical, nonprofit organization dedicated to educating Americans about the flag.
Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .