Home for the Holidays
September 11th – 20 Years Later. A Remembance Observance
The Mayor’s office, and the City Council members are requesting the presence of it’s citizenry as our City and County commemorate the tragic attack on our country on September 11, 2001. It is our hope that young and old will join together at Storey Square as one, as we remember that fateful day, the sacrifices made, and the patriotism that stirred our souls.
Won’t you join us? Please plan on coming together on September 11, 2021 at 2pm.
FLAG REPLACEMENT CEREMONY HELD AT MARSHALL PLAZA
Uniontown, PA – All 18 flags are proudly waving once again at Uniontown’s George C. Marshall Memorial Plaza, thanks to a generous donation.
City of Uniontown officials, along with the Fayette County Veterans Affairs Office, Uniontown’s Rolling Thunder Chapter 5 and other veterans came together Thursday afternoon for a flag replacement ceremony at the plaza, sponsored by the Silvis Group, Inc. and Online Stores LLC.
Located at the site locally known as “Five Corners” along West Main Street, the plaza has long been a beloved attraction for county residents and visitors alike. It stands as a testament to the life and accomplishments of Uniontown native and U.S. Army General George C. Marshall.
On June 19, the plaza was vandalized, with flags from the 17 nations who were part of The Marshall Plan, also known as The European Recovery Plan, following World War II, along with the Pennsylvania state flag, being cut down and stolen. Our United States and Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) flags were left untouched.
Uniontown Mayor Bill Gerke said the vandalism was “very disappointing” and “struck at the heart of one of our beautiful, historic tributes.”
“There has been an outpouring of concern from citizens, businesses and organizations near and far to help replace the flags. Thank you, Silvis Group and Online Stores, for your thoughtfulness and generosity in helping Uniontown restore the flags to Marshall Plaza,” Gerke said. “With a gray cloud, there is always a silver lining. Silvis Group and Online Stores are the silver lining to this unfortunate occurrence. Everyone associated with the Marshall Plaza wants to say a big ‘thank you’ to you.”
Not long after the unprecedented vandalism occurred, Cathy Fligger, executive assistant with Silvis Group contacted the city on behalf of Silvis President Jacob H. Silvis IV; Silvis General Manager Chris Boucher; and Eric Nonneberg, director of sales and product development for Online Stores LLC.
Together, Silvis and Online Stores donated a full set of replacement flags representing Pennsylvania, along with the nations of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
The organizations also donated new U.S. and POW/MIA flags, to allow the existing flags to be retired; as well as new ropes for all that were severed during the theft.
President Jacob Silvis said he learned of the vandalism from the news and, after taking his wife’s advice and “sleeping on it,” he presented the donation idea to his team before contacting their vendor, Online Stores, to talk about a partnership.
“We all agreed that we have the ability to make a difference where it was much needed. We have a wonderful relationship with Online Stores and appreciate them stepping up to the plate when asked,” Silvis said. “For the last 36 years, Silvis Group has focused on being committed to the western Pennsylvania region and seeing this really hits close to home. We have an office in the Uniontown area and we want to make sure that we are supporting the community that we work and live in. It’s a testament to the American spirit that someone can tear us down, and together we can build it back up.”
Nonneberg said Online Stores was eager to help upon learning of the vandalism, as the company owns and operates the largest online supplier of flags and flagpoles in the country.
“It just seemed like the perfect time to do the right thing and help out a local community that isn’t far from our corporate office in New Stanton, Pennsylvania,” Nonneberg said. “We work with thousands of VFWs, American Legions and all types of veterans’ groups across the country, so this was a no-brainer when it came to helping a community in our own backyard. It’s hard to believe that someone would sink so low as to steal all of these flags, but we are glad that we could help in some way.”
Thursday’s ceremony featured speeches from all key players, as well as a presentation of the new flags from to the city and a ceremonial flag raising.
Fayette County Veteran Affairs Director Brian Bensen said replacing the flags shows “our resilience and respect” for the memorial.
“It’s also a reminder to the county that we care about our veterans, their memorials and their sacrifice for us and our way of life. The allied flags are a reminder that, under the worst times and against all odds, we came together as a nation and a world to defeat evil and protect our freedom,” Bensen said. “We put aside our differences and joined a united front – the same way Fayette County did when our memorial was damaged. We came together. The overwhelming outpouring of support proves this.”
Following the vandalism, monetary donations began pouring in from concerned citizens countywide. That money will be used to create a fund exclusively for the city’s future flag replacement purchases, helping to defer a nearly $2,000 annual cost to the city.
Mayor Gerke said Thursday was a “very special day in the life of the City of Uniontown.”
“One of the first things you see when entering Uniontown from the west is the flag display at George C. Marshall Memorial Plaza,” Gerke said. “The plaza denotes a very important piece of United States history that our city played a large role in. This symbol of history needs to be honored for generations.”
Silvis Group, Inc. of Mt. Pleasant is a full-service landscaping company specializing in design, building and maintenance in western Pennsylvania and surrounding states. For more information, visit www.silvislandscape.com.
Online Stores LLC of New Stanton is a privately owned company founded in 2002 and specializing in flags, flagpoles and accessories nationwide. For more information, visit www.united-states-flag.com.
To learn more about the Fayette County Veteran Affairs Office, visit www.fayettecountypa.org. To learn more about the City of Uniontown, visit www.uniontowncity.com.
For more information, contact Laura Kutek, City of Uniontown Director of Planning & Community Relations, at 724- 430-2934 or email@example.com.