Four flags flying high again

Four brand new flags were hoisted up the poles at Heritage Point in downtown Warren o0n Saturday morning during the 46th annual Four Flags ceremony.

“Going back to the heritage of Warren County, we’ve raised the different flags of the different groups that have controlled Warren County,” emcee Tim Greenlund said.

The flags represent the four nations that have held sway over the territory the Seneca Nation of Indians, France, England, and the United States and they are raised in that order.

Greenlund introduced representatives of the service clubs that sponsor Heritage Point and the annual Four Flags event. John McGarry of the Warren Exchange Club presented the Seneca Nation of Indians Flag. Sathya Lingaraju-Durkak of Warren Rotary Club presented the French Flag. The English Flag was presented by Charles Merroth of Warren Kiwanis Club. Don Reed of the Lions Club presented the American Flag.

Brandon Nielsen of Chief Cornplanter Council Boy Scout Troop 21 of Grace United Methodist Church solemnly carried each folded flag to the base of the pole where he and other members of the troop Tristan Johnson and Scout Master Jeff Johnson helped him attach and raise it.

Funding for the new flags was raised over the past year.

“They’re beautiful,” Greenlund said. “They even seemed to go up the poles easier.”

“These flags will fly over Warren for the summer months,” he said. “Enjoy these flags as they fly as we drive back and forth across the Hickory Street Bridge.”

The ceremony started in 1968, but until 1986 it was only a “Three Flags” event. According to Greenlund, the Beaty Geography Club purchased a Seneca Nation Flag for the event in 1986. The nation did not use flags, so one was designed through contests held at the Seneca’s Cattaraugus and Allegany reservations.

Keynote speaker Warren County Commissioner John Bortz encouraged people to remember the heritage of the county and their own personal heritage. “Each and every one of us has a story to tell on those who have gone before us,” he said. “Stand on those shoulders.”

“There is an American Dream and that dream can be a daily reality,” Bortz said, adding that “rugged individualism and blood-bought freedom” are building blocks of that dream.

Musical interludes were provided by the Elks Club Band and the Conewango Clippers VLQ Very Large Quartet.