2002-03-16 / Community

‘Service Flags’ Presented At Moving Ceremony

To Heroes Of September 11

More than 50 people turned out Thursday, March 7, 2002 for an impromptu ceremony honoring the heroes of September 11th, the police, firefighters, and U.S. military personnel who continue to patrol our borders, secure our cities, and fight overseas.

As a way to honor these brave American heroes, the Chamber of Commerce has become the conduit for a program that was the brainchild of Steve Rupp, a St. Louis, Missouri businessman and his brother, who have resurrected and expanded on the noble World War I and World War II tradition - The Service Flag.

Representatives of the 100th, 101st, Transit District 23, Battalion 47 NYFD, NYFD EMS, and volunteer organizations from Breezy Point and Broad Channel were invited to a breakfast meeting at the Harbor Light Restaurant, in Belle Harbor. They were personally presented with complimentary service flags from Rupp's American Heroes' program by Mr. Rupp, Chamber of Commerce President Liz Sulik and Frances Ginsburg, whose generosity made these donations possible.  Ms. Ginsburg, a New York based opera singer originally from St. Louis, also performed a breathtaking musical rendition of patriotic songs.  Ginsburg has been involved from day one as a volunteer at ground zero and learned of Rockaway's unique hardships via the New York media.

The Service Flags are reminiscent of the 15" X 8" banners that families during the two World Wars would display in the front windows of their homes. Then, the flags would show a blue star for each family member serving in the armed forces. The star would be changed to gold if the soldier was killed in action. The flag raised that home to a place of honor.

This new war, the War on Terrorism, is being fought both overseas and here on our own soil. Since this war includes defending our own homeland, the Rupp brothers' American Heroes organization is expanding this great tradition to include separate flags for all of our nation's fire, and rescue, and law enforcement personnel. In the great traditions of WWI and WWII, the American Heroes organization has created the Service Flags with a blue star for the armed forces, a red Maltese cross for fire and rescue, a silver badge for law enforcement, and a blue U.S.A. flag for non-service families to show their support for our armed forces, fire and rescue and law enforcement personnel. There is also a gold overlay piece designed for the ultimate respect for those who died while serving their country.

The military flags honor all members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Reserves, and National Guard. The Fire and Rescue Flag honors all fire and rescue personnel including firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. the Law Enforcement Flags honor all members of law enforcement on both a local and a national level, including government officials involved in protecting America. The Support Flags are designed for all Americans with no family members in the military, fire and rescue, or law enforcement who want to show their support of these American heroes.

The service flags are designed to honor those American Heroes who serve to protect us and to keep us free. They also honor their families for giving so generously of their loved ones to secure the safety and freedom of all Americans.

The American Heroes organization, through Frances Ginsburg,  donated 250 service flags to the men and women of the emergency services who serve the Rockaway community. Additional service flags have been ordered by the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways to make available to anyone who wishes to carry on this honorable tradition. These flags will soon be available for purchase at various Rockaway locations, with a portion of the proceeds of the sales earmarked for the Rockaway Memorial Fund. For additional information about the American Heroes organization or the Chamber of Commerce's service flag program, call the Chamber office at 634-1300, or watch The Wave for upcoming details about the program.

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