OLEAN, NY – The city observed Flag Day Wednesday with a ceremony at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1619.

Mayor William J. Aiello, who was guest speaker at the event, quoted an essay titled “The Meaning of Our Flag” written by Henry Ward Beecher, a clergyman, reformer and abolitionist:

“Our Flag carries American ideas, American history and American feelings. Beginning with the Colonies, and coming down to our time, in its sacred heraldry, in its glorious insignia, it has gathered and stored chiefly this supreme idea: divine right of liberty in man. Every color means liberty; every thread means liberty; every form of star and beam or stripe of light means liberty - not lawlessness, but organized, institutional liberty - liberty through law, and laws for liberty!”

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At the start of the program, Tom Scott, Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop 621 read the poem “I Am the Flag” by Ruth Apperson Rous. During the ceremony, Brad Emery a member of Boy Scout Troop 621, described the meaning of each of the 13 folds in the flag as his fellow Scouts performed the traditional folding of the flag.

The event ended with a prayer from Jim Tambash, chaplain of Olean American Legion Post 530, followed by a 21-gun salute and “Taps.”

William Quinlan served as master of ceremonies.