What:  Flag ceremony and celebration

When:  10 a.m. Saturday, May 19,

Where:  Academy Hill School gymnasium in Wilton

WILTON — American flags are flying along some streets in Wilton, East Wilton and East Dixfield to celebrate patriotism.

Many residents and businesses helped with the Flags On Main Street project. Seventy-one out of 86 flags purchased were put up Tuesday and Wednesday, said Hazel Flagg, member of the Wilton Day Extension Homemakers in partnership with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

A public flag ceremony and celebration is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, in the gymnasium at Academy Hill School, she said. Local musician Sammie Angel will provide patriotic music. Speakers include Town Manager Rhonda Irish; Barbara Hathaway, president of Franklin County Homemakers Extension; state Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, and state Rep. Russell Black, R-Wilton. The Rev. Tim Walmer of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will offer a blessing.

Many who donated to the project and several veterans are also expected to attend, she said.

Flags were put up on Main Street and Route 156 from Rick’s Market to Woodland Avenue in Wilton, along Main Street in East Wilton, and on Route 2 in East Dixfield from the fire station to R.S. Osgood & Sons tractor dealership.

Last spring, Flagg brought to the extension group the idea of placing a few flags to adorn poles on Main Street. With help from Irish, who agreed to accept and deposit donations at the town office, the group sent letters to local businesses, groups and organizations. They also held a craft fair raising $500 to add to the $1,500 raised from donations for the project. In December, Modern Woodmen of America provided a matching $2,000.

Poles were selected and Flagg negotiated with utility companies to post the flags on the poles from May until after Veteran’s Day in November.

Jon Ross of Wilton placed the last bracket and flag on pole No. 71 Wednesday morning. He and other Bee Line Cable employees started mounting the flags Tuesday. The company helps a lot with town projects like banners for the Blueberry Festival and Christmas lights, he said.

Ross, a veteran who served nine years in the Army Reserve with two deployments to Iraq, said he was honored to place the flags on the poles for the group.

There are a few more flags to mount and the group plans to add them before this summer’s Blueberry Festival, Flagg said.

Donations are still coming in for more flags, she said. Many gave donations to honor or in memory of an individual or veteran.

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