Thanks to a discussion that began during last year's Veterans' Luncheon, a new American flag and commemorative plaque were officially unveiled in front of the Hannibal YMCA on Thursday, June 14.

Eric Abts, Hannibal YMCA Executive Director and CEO, said that he first discussed the possibility of an American flag for the building with Jess Ornelas and fellow veterans during the luncheon. YMCA board members unanimously approved the measure, and Abts thanked board members, YMCA members and representatives from American Legion Post #55 for making the new flag a reality.

Ornelas said that American Legion Post #55 members donated the flag and provided donations for the flag pole. Just below the flag, the plaque reads: “This flag is dedicated to the men and women who serve our country.”

The original plans called for a ceremony and unveiling before Memorial Day, but delays in mounting the pole pushed the plans to June.

“Why don't we have it on Flag Day?” Ornelas said to Abts. “That's a good day to raise a flag.” Abts agreed.

“It took a little while — we wanted to do a little fundraising and what not — but then once this date was approaching, we thought June 14 would be perfect, and it was,” he said.

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