Veterans Banners Mean Much to Families & Communities
Everyone should look up to our veterans for the service they gave to our country. It's easy to look up to veterans in some communities in our area. Their pictures hang high on banners attached to utility poles.
Cambridge Springs is one of the latest communities to honor its veterans with banners. The banners have already been taken down for the winter. But, I came here anyway to find out how much these banners mean to a community. I spoke with Delores Hale, the chairperson of the program.
"We're a big veterans town. We're the home of the Pennsylvania National Guard. Our veterans and our servicemen mean a lot to us,” she said.
Delores and her committee thought that maybe 50 to 70 families would be interested in having a banner of their beloved veteran on display. It turned out that 217 families applied.
"We really had to up the whole game. Just finding that many poles and getting approval for that many poles from Penelec. Plotting them all, trying to get them all in,” she said.
The banners honor veterans from the Civil War all the way to Mike Noble, who is currently serving yet another deployment in the Middle East. There’s also a banner showing five brothers who all served in World War II. Implementing the program was a lot of work. Delores spent hundreds of hours on the project. She says it was definitely worth it. No one expected the emotional response the banners created.
"I had Vietnam veterans run into me on the street with tears in their eyes and hugging me saying thank you. They didn't get the respect they deserved when they came home from the war,” says Delores.
Family members of the honored veterans treat the banners as if they were sacred.
"I've had several tell me that they drive by and wave to their family members who are long since deceased. I had a widow tell me she goes and talks to her husband's banner on a daily basis,” says Delores. “So, it's made the hundreds of hours worth it."
Each family paid a $50 fee to have their loved one placed on a banner. The banners were first erected last spring. They will be on display for one more warm weather season. Then they will be given to the families to use as they please.