Heavy Hearts Observe Flag Day

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OLD FORGE -- The shooting Wednesday morning near the nation's capital falls on Flag Day, a day meant to celebrate the red, white, and blue.

People observing the holiday in our area were also focused on the events in Alexandria, Virginia.

The Flag Day ceremony at the Lackawanna County Courthouse was one of many such ceremonies held in our area. They're meant to honor the flag that unites us as a country.

Some folks celebrating earlier in the day in Old Forge said it felt like more divides us than unites us.

If you want to learn about service and sacrifice, look no further than the lobby of Old Forge Manor on Flag Day. An honor guard, including two World War II vets, presided over the special ceremony.

"That's a way of expressing your love for your country, for your fellow comrade. You can give service where it's needed. It's an honor and you feel good doing it," said World War II veteran Sam Guernieri.

This annual celebration of the red, white, and blue didn't feel as celebratory coming hours after a gunman opened fire on a group of Republican lawmakers and staff playing baseball near Washington D.C.

Authorities say the shooter could have had political motivations.

"It's come to a point where, really, everybody sounds angry. That's where I think the problem is," said World War II veteran Sal Alimo. "They feel that people in Washington aren't doing their job, period, and they're frustrated and they take it out on somebody else."

"We lock doors. We bolt the doors to make sure nobody's going to come in our home. It's a very sad thing, but that's what we have to do these days," added Guernieri.

The decorations at Old Forge Manor say, "United We Stand." The folks here say outside these doors, there's too much focused on what divides us.

"It's like a civil war, because you don't know, you mention something about politics, you don't know if the other guy is going to go off the deep end and get really angry with you, or whatever. People just fight among themselves," said Arlene Skrzysowski, Post 189 Greater Pittston AMVETS.

Many of the people we talked to say they don't remember a time where political discourse was as emotionally charged as it is now, making community events like this one even more important.