Before I start, I’d like to thank Assistant Chief Carl Quaglino, Deputy Treasurer Rich Yeno, and Volunteer Fireman Thomas Marston for all their help and knowledge as I created this segment.
After any trip, there is one thing that has always welcomed me home. At the junction of Route 55 and Pleasant Ridge Road stands the J.H. Ketcham Firehouse and an enormous American flag made entirely of lights. Like a constellation of stars, this flag leads me home.
Despite how I may feel about it, this flag was not made especially for me. In fact, its life began several years before my own. The flag was first built in 1991 during the Gulf War in honor of the Dover residents who went to serve in the military. The Fire Department originally planned to keep the flag lit until all of our troops came home, but after their return, the local American Legion requested that the flag remain because of all that it symbolizes.
Our flag was renovated this year, for the second time since it’s construction. The first renovation occurred between 2003 and 2004 to repair weather damage. In 2014, the flag’s wiring and structure was beginning to deteriorate because of age and weather, so the Fire Department decided to rebuild. Westchester Modular graciously volunteered to rebuild the frame and the wiring, and the Fire Department bought new eco-friendly LED Bulbs to replace the older version’s incandescent bulbs. The money for the new bulbs came from the Fire Department’s Annual Carnival fund. The leaders in the rebuild were Frank Minniti and Don Camron.
The American Flag light display has a place in every Doverian’s heart. Assistant Fire Chief Carl Quaglino said that, “Our flag is a great symbol of our town and our country. People will always stop by and take pictures of and with the flag.” Also, when the flag is turned on at night, those who catch a glimpse will honk their horns. The American flag represents freedom and the sacrifices that our soldiers and our citizens made to protect it. However, our flag also represents compassion, pride, and a sense of home. Our flag marks the spot, the community, the nation, where our hearts are centered and bound to. It is something worth fighting for, and something worth celebrating. Thank you to all our brave men and women serving in the military, and blessings to the families and towns that support them through it all.