Patriotism on display at MVH Light-Up Night
Spirits ran high at Monongahela Valley Hospital's annual Light-Up Night celebration as a proud display of patriotism enhanced the traditional festivities.
"Light-Up Night at the hospital is truly a family event, one that holds special meaning to our community, visitors, patients and all members of our hospital family," Anthony M. Lombardi, president and chief executive officer of the hospital, told the crowd of more than 300 gathered in the MVH outdoor Central Plaza.
"This year, of course, is very unique," he continued. "In light of all that has happened in our nation and around the world since Sept. 11, the tradition of togetherness has taken on special meaning. And so it is that we expand our celebration with a symbolic ceremony emphasizing the spirit of patriotism and faith that exists here."
To emphasize that point, a large illuminated American flag was displayed on the roof of the hospital for the ceremonies. The flag was lighted as the Razz-Ma-Tazz singers from Ringgold High School led the crowd in the singing of "God Bless America" to open the program. A release of colorful red, white and blue balloons also was featured.
"It is fitting and symbolic that the flag ceremony complement the tradition of Light-Up Night here," Lombardi said.
He noted the electronic flag display, which will become a permanent fixture atop the hospital, serves as tribute to those who lost their lives in New York City, at the Pentagon and in Somerset County, to their families, and to the emergency workers who have toiled in rescue and recovery missions.
"It also will be a symbol of our continuing support for our leaders in government and for the men and women in the U.S. Armed Forces who are defending our freedom at home and around the world.
"As we set the tone for a happy Holiday Season, we ask that you take the time to enjoy the everyday things we often take for granted," Lombardi concluded. "Above all, please remember to give special thanks for the special gifts that have been bestowed upon us."
Monongahela Valley Hospital initiated the Light-Up Night tradition in the area in 1985 with a colorful display of decorations.
In addition to those displays, this year's revelry again featured Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus meeting with and presenting candy canes to children in attendance.
Holiday music by the Razz-Ma-Tazz singers preceded the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, and refreshments prepared by the MVH Food Service staff were served.