Senior citizens polka and salsa danced the afternoon away yesterday at Riverfront Green Park. At the City of Peekskill's Senior Citizen Annual Picnic and 22nd Flag Day celebration, more than 200 seniors enjoyed an all American meal of burgers and hot dogs catered by and caught up with old friends.
Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster, City Manager Rick Finn and Deputy City Manager Brian Havranek attended the ceremonies where seniors sang patriotic songs and made speeches about the significance of the American flag and flagpole.
Dominic Ramnarine, treasurer of the Senior Citizen Club, read a statement about the significance of each fold of the flag. Ramnarine, 65, is a Vietnam Veteran who served from 1965-1967. He read a detailed description of each flag fold’s significance.
In summary: the first fold is a symbol of life, the second a symbol of our belief in eternal life; the third in honor of veterans who gave their lives; the fourth represents our weaker nature; the fifth is a tribute to our country; the sixth is where our hearts lie; the seventh is a tribute to the Armed Forces, the eighth is a tribute to the one who entered the valley of the shadow of death that we might see the light of day; the ninth is a tribute to womanhood; the tenth is a tribute to the father; the eleventh represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon; the twelfth represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies God; the thirteenth, when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”
Ed D’Anna, an 86-year-old World War II veteran who served in the Army from 1943-1945, told the crowd about the significance of the flagpole. He explained the symbolic myths that surround the truck (round sphere on top of the pole) and the base. The myth states that the truck on an official government installation contains a 9 mm bullet and, in the event the truck falls, it is designated to break into 13 individual pieces that represent the colonies.
At the base is a box buried in concrete that contains a 9 mm pistol, a book of matches and a razorblade so that a soldier could destroy the flag before the enemy can capture it.
D’Anna also took time to acknowledge that this Flag Day represents the U.S. Army’s 236th birthday.
And the Peekskill Flag Day celebration represented the club’s 22nd ceremony in recognition of the holiday. Peekskill Senior Citizen Club Program Director Julie Bentley explained that she and others were careful to make this year’s celebration particularly special in honor of Henry Roberts. Roberts has been planning Flag Day for years but has recently fallen ill and was unable to participate this year.
The celebration ended with vanilla and chocolate cupcakes delivered to every table and the seniors danced until the music stopped.
For more information on the Peekskill Senior Citizens Club click here.