WWII Vet Behind Return of Flags to Market Street Bridge

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WILKES-BARRE – An 88-year-old World War II veteran who served in the Battle of the Bulge is being credited for the return of American flags to the Market Street Bridge for Memorial Day.

Jim Walsh told Newswatch 16 that he decided to start a campaign to raise money for the return of the flags, because the city stopped paying for flags to be purchased and displayed on the landmark bridge 11 years ago.

"I’m so proud of it, I`m deeply proud of my flag, really. And I know other Americans are too,” said Walsh. "The flag embodies everything that is good in our nation's history."

When members of the history club at West Side Career and Technical Center heard that Walsh was raising cash for the return of American flags, Ian Nelson said the group was able to raise nearly $400.

"He`s already given us so much to the community since he is veteran of World War II. He`s already given us enough, because he fought for our freedom,” said Nelson. “But us trying to do this for him, it`s just us trying to give back to him, because he`s already done so much for us."

David Lepore told Newswatch 16 that he and Walsh were able to raise $1,000 for the flag fund, and that they were recently given permission to hang American flags on Public Square for Independence Day.

"He is the ultimate, I call him the flag man,” said Lepore. “He is always pressing to see the flag go up."

Donations for the U.S. American Flag Committee Fund are being accepted at Pennstar Bank branches.