Following an act of vandalism last month, all the flags of the Five Corners of Uniontown are once again waving proudly, thanks to a generous donation.
The location, officially known as George C. Marshall Plaza, was the site where vandals cut ropes and stole 17 flags on June 19.
Each flag represented the 17 nations that were part of the Marshall Plan for European recovery after WWII, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland , Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom.
The US and POW / Missing in Action (POW / MIA) flags have not been touched.
Last week Bartholomew John Jones, 45, of Uniontown, was arrested after telling Uniontown City police he stole and destroyed foreign flags representing Allied nations in World War II because of he was upset that they were deployed on American soil. He is awaiting a preliminary hearing.
Uniontown Mayor Bill Gerke said the vandalism was very disappointing and struck the heart of one of the city’s finest historical tributes.
Since news of the stolen flags came out, Gerke said the city has seen a wave of concern from citizens, businesses and organizations to help replace the flags.
One of those people and companies was Cathy Fligger, Executive Assistant at Silvis Group.
Fligger contacted the city on behalf of President Silvis Jacob H. Silvis IV; Silvis General Manager Chris Boucher and Eric Nonneberg, Director of Sales and Product Development for Online Stores LLC, a supplier to Silvis, on the replacement of the flags.
Jacob Silvis said he learned of the vandalism from the news and, after taking his wife’s advice and falling asleep there, he pitched the donation idea to his team before contacting their supplier, Online Stores. , to discuss a partnership.
Silvis and the online stores donated a full set of replacement flags along with new US and POW / MIA flags, to allow for the removal of existing flags. New ropes for anyone severed during the flight have also been provided.
âWe all agreed that we have the ability to make a difference where it is really needed,â said Jacob Silvis. âWe have an office in the Uniontown area and we want to make sure we support the community in which we work and live.â
âThis seemed like the perfect time to do the right thing and help a local community that is not far from our head office in New Stanton, Pa.,â Nonneberg said of his company which owns and operates the largest online supplier of flags. and flag poles around the country. âWe work with thousands of VFWs, American Legions and all types of veterans groups across the country, so it was a no-brainer when it came to helping a community in our own back- court.”
Fayette County Director of Veterans Affairs Brian Bensen said the replacement of the flags shows the community’s resilience and respect for the memorial.
âIt’s also a reminder to the county that we care about our veterans, their memorials and their sacrifice for us and our way of life,â Bensen said. âWe put our differences aside and joined a united front, the same way Fayette County did when our memorial was damaged. We got together.
Uniontown town officials, along with the Fayette County Veterans Office, Uniontown Rolling Thunder Chapter 5 and other veterans gathered Thursday afternoon for a flag replacement ceremony on the plaza, sponsored by the Silvis Group Inc. and online stores.
âThank you, Silvis Group and the online stores, for your attention and generosity in helping Uniontown restore the flags of Marshall Plaza,â said Gerke, adding that every gray cloud had a silver lining. âThe Silvis Group and the online stores are the silver lining of this unfortunate event. “
Donations from affected citizens across the county will be used to create a fund exclusively for future city flag replacement purchases, helping to defer an annual cost of nearly $ 2,000 to the city.
âThe square represents a very important piece of United States history in which our city has played a significant role,â said Gerke, adding that one of the first things people see when entering Uniontown through the west is the flag display. “This symbol of history is to be honored for generations.”