The 7,002 American flags arranged on the front lawn of Westminster Presbyterian Church on Nov. 7 served as a reminder of the courageous soldiers who gave their lives for freedom. To honor the soldiers’ sacrifice, Middletown Township Local 124 members presented a 21-gun salute and played “Taps” at the 8th Annual Field of Flags Ceremony.
The Local did not previously have an Honor Guard or a member who could play the bugle, but there was a surge of volunteers this year. Member Michael Allen, an active duty military soldier, knows how to play and stepped up to put together a group of members to perform flawlessly.
“In the recent years I’ve noticed that we’ve been tapped on the shoulder to kind of be a bigger part of the ceremony,” said Local 124 State Delegate Anthony Dellatacoma. “[The ceremony] really has grown in size over the years, and just to be a part of that platform was an honor.” The memorial remained standing until Nov. 14.
The Field of Flags Ceremony was first established in 2012 to honor the military soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, and especially those involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. This year’s guest speakers included Mayor Tony Perry, State Assembly Member Gerry Schartenberger, military veteran Darren DeMotta and pastor Reverend Joseph Hein.
Dellatacoma notes that the more than 7,000 flags are a poignant reminder of the high price of war, which is especially striking to this Local because half of the department’s members are military veterans or active military.
“To have them involved in something that touches their hearts so near and
dear and have them recognized not only as police officers but also as military veterans is important because they wear two hats,” he shared. “To give them the recognition they deserve and to give back to the community like this — it’s a win-win all around.”