Friday is Flag Day in Pittsburgh and beyond
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania became the first state to celebrate Flag Day as a holiday in 1937.
This year, the National Flag Foundation in Pittsburgh hopes to inspire Americans across the country to fly the flag for unity and civility.
“My mission is to re-establish the flag foundation and revitalize Flag Day, because there is so much divisiveness in the country. We need the flag and what it stands for more than ever,” said Romel L. Nicholas, chairman of the National Flag Foundation, headquartered in the Koppers Building, Downtown Pittsburgh.
All Americans are asked to fly the flag and pause for 50 seconds (one second for each star) of reflection at 11:45 a.m. Friday.
Through an initiative of the International Association of Fire Fighters, they will not only fly a flag, but also light their emergency vehicles and sound their fire sirens at 11:45 a.m.
The event will take place in the lobby of the United Steelworkers Building on Boulevard of the Allies, Downtown Pittsburgh.
Flag Day coincides with the Dollar Bank Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival.
“Other states do something like this, so we want to help put Pittsburgh on the map for Flag Day,” said Judy Murtha, executive vice president at Dollar Bank. “We believe in being patriotic, and the flag should be honored. I think sometimes Flag Day gets lost, but we want people to take notice.”
Speeches will come from Leo W. Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers; Richard L. Trumka, president of AFL-CIO; and Rabbi Jeffrey C. Myers of the Tree of Life Congregation.
The National Flag Foundation is in the process of designing a virtual visitor center to showcase everything from the history of the flag to cemeteries where American soldiers are buried overseas. The exhibit should be finished by Flag Day 2020.
“It’s a room that will be red, white and blue every day of the year,” Nicholas said. “For some reason, Flag Day has fallen off the national radar, and us being a national organization based in Pittsburgh, we want to be a part of revitalizing Flag Day. We are all Americans on June 14, Flag Day.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 724-853-5062, [email protected] or via Twitter .