Earlier this month, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Patriot Flag ceremony at Rouses Point.
Sitting under that 60-foot flag was an amazing experience I won't soon forget.
The Patriot Flag was donated to America by a group of California businessmen following the funeral of a veteran. It was dedicated to the memory of military personnel, first- and second-responders and public-safety personnel.
By the time the flag ends up at a permanent resting place, it will have traveled to 50 states in 50 weeks, including stops at the Flight 93 Rose Garden in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and Manhattan Battery Park in New York.
Something else I won't soon forget is the patriotism I felt that day in Rouses Point. The beautiful flag waved against a clear blue sky, touched gently by the lake breezes.
With the American Legion Montgomery Post 912 emceeing the event, the Montgomery Hose, Hook and Ladder Co. of Rouses Point and the St. Paul de L'lle Noix (Quebec) Fire Department shared their ladder trucks to suspend the precious banner.
At first, I wondered, "Why would a Canadian fire truck be here?" Later in the ceremony, my question was answered: The two towns work hand in hand to cover fires, and 24 Canadians died in the Sept. 11 tragedy. That lends a whole new meaning to "Hands Across the Border."
The processional began with the haunting sound of the Border Patrol Bag Pipers and Drums. They were followed by the American and Canadian fire department members, Canadian and American legions, National Guard, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Army Reserve, Border Patrol, Custom and Border Protection, Sheriff's Department, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Each one presented themselves with honor in appreciation of the flag. All these people, in this small town, with a very big message: patriotism.