Emblems In Tatters

A Warren landmark – the Four Flags that fly high from Heritage Point at the foot of the Hickory Street Bridge – has fallen into disrepair.

The Four Flags – representing local heritage: English, French, Seneca and the Betsy Ross American flags – have flown over the south side of the city for 45 years, thanks most recently to a joint service committee that includes Rotary, Jaycees, Lions, Kiwanis, Exchange and Zonta clubs of Warren.

The clubs, like most volunteer agencies, struggle with finding volunteers and funds for projects they feel are worthy of their attention, and the daunting $2,300 it takes to replace the flags can only be earmarked every two years, according to the group’s treasurer, Don Reed.

The flags “take a lot of abuse there,” Reed explained, in the nearly constant wind from the Allegheny River. “We usually get two years out of them.”

The Seneca flag lasts the longest – and is the most expensive – because it is custom made, Reed explained.

Due to the declining quality of the flags, and a recent wind storm, the flags are looking tattered.

When a heavy wind storm came through the city a few weeks ago, the Betsy Ross flag was torn beyond repair, and the group removed the flag out of respect.

“We thought we could get a season out of them,” Reed said of this set of flags, which would traditionally be removed in November for the season.

A new Betsy Ross flag is ordered in hopes to replace it this year. All four will be replaced in 2014.

Donations to support the effort are being accepted. Checks can be made out to the 4 Flags Joint Service Club Project and sent to: Four Flags Joint Service Club Committee; Don Reed, Treasurer; c/o Warren Lions Club; PO Box 622; Warren, PA 16365.