Monday, 15 June 2015

Flag Day on Gospel Hill

ALTOONA - You can see the flag on gospel hill behind me from just about anywhere in Altoona.

On Sunday, the community came together to celebrate its special anniversary.

"You know you're home when you look up and you see that big flag," said Paul Johnson, 18th Street Community Church Pastor.

Johnson is talking about this flag that flies high over Altoona on Gospel Hill.  For him it's a symbol of the sacrifice given by veterans like himself.

"The greatest thing I can really remember that really moved my soul is watching the flag being shifted on my ship up into the heights and sailing off to war. I was only 18."

Sunday's ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the flag flying on top of Gospel Hill. The flag is something that some say people can take for granted, but should be recognized in a special way.

"It's about freedom,” said Johnson. “It's about our flag and I can be the voice for one of my best friends who lost his life on my ship with 20 other sailors."

"The importance is of course celebrating our flag, the patriotism, what it truly means to be a proud American and of course to always thank our veterans," said Jodi Cessna, Executive Director Central PA Community Foundation.

For Johnson, Sunday’s ceremony meant being able to recognize those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

"It's one of the smallest crowds, but it's also celebrating the freedom that men have fought, men and women have fought and died for."

It varies based on weather conditions every year, but we're told the 30 foot by 60 foot flag usually needs to be replaced about four times every year, and each flag costing about $2,000.