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Editor's Voice: They step forward to save a patriotic tradition in town

Posted 7/8/14

 

Did you see the U.S. flags hanging in Middletown’s square for Independence Day? Along Union Street?

 

Were you surprised?

 

The man who has carried on the tradition of hanging the flags on poles in town during …

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Editor's Voice: They step forward to save a patriotic tradition in town

Posted

 

Did you see the U.S. flags hanging in Middletown’s square for Independence Day? Along Union Street?

 

Were you surprised?

 

The man who has carried on the tradition of hanging the flags on poles in town during patriotic holidays, Sam Bangert, had announced his retirement from the enterprise in an article published in the Press And Journal on Wednesday, July 2. He’s now 70, and after 25 years of spearheading the effort – at its heyday, sponsors paid for 114 flags that Bangert and a Boy Scout troop posted throughout Middletown – he decided he could no longer keep going.

 

He offered to sell the flags and poles at $10 apiece to anyone who wanted to place a flag in front of their business, and hoped to find someone who would supervise the effort in the future. While no one has stepped forward to take over for Bangert, several residents and businesses did step forward to buy flags and keep the patriotic tradition alive, at least in part.

 

Resident Mike Bowman, a local landlord, purchased 30, placing some on the square. "Guys have died defending this flag,'' said Bowman, a regular at Middletown Borough Council meetings and sometime critic of government spending. "If you are going to spend money on something, spend it on something worthwhile."

 

Businesses like Dunn’s Antiques and Collectibles purchased a flag to hang in front of their establishments (including the Press And Journal, we’re delighted to point out). "They belong in Middletown,'' said owner Charles Dunn, citing the tradition that Bangert perpetuated.

 

It’s a tradition that should be preserved – and we thank Bangert for carrying the responsibility for so many, many years.

 

And we applaud those who were so moved by the patriotic tribute – can you imagine an Independence Day, or a Veterans Day, or a Memorial Day without the flags flying in Middletown? – that they did something to preserve it. We're encouraged that, as Bangert points out in a follow-up story on page A1 of this edition, that many others still are calling him to buy the flags.

 

This is what can happen when Middletowners put aside their political differences to do something good for the town. The flag display was tremendous. Long may they wave.

     

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