By LaKeshia Knarr
LOCK HAVEN – An American flag with a unique history now hangs prominently behind a protective sheet of glass in the Clinton County Courthouse.
On Sept. 11, the 16th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, members of the local community gathered at the courthouse to see a special flag unveiled during a dedication ceremony.
The flag was donated by Capt. Terry and Carmen Banfill, their son Sean, and his wife Lindsay. It flew over the U.S. embassy in Iraq on Dec. 14, 2013, while Sean was serving there. Sean now serves as a diplomatic security agent for the U.S. Department of State.
Now adorning the wall of Courtroom #2, which is used for Clinton County Veterans Court, “the flag is a symbol of everything the program stands for,” Judge Michael Salisbury said during the ceremony Monday morning.
“Every veteran who fought for our freedom in any way is one of our most cherished assets,” Salisbury said.
He noted statistics show that half of service members return from duty with a mental illness, 1/6 suffer from an alcohol or drug addiction and 1/5 have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
“Left untreated, our veterans find themselves homeless, unemployed and arrested… We cannot stand by and let these things happen to our veterans,” Salisbury said. “Our Clinton County Veterans Court that flag is dedicated to today gives us another option.”
President Judge Craig Miller also spoke, thanking the Banfills for their donation. He said the flag will serve as a reminder of tours of duty, dedication and sacrifice – and help veterans overcome their current battles.
This marks the 175th flag donation by the Banfill family in Clinton County, Capt. Banfill noted, calling it “a special day.”
“The American flag stands for all we hold dear to our hearts: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… It represents who we are as Americans and how America signs her name,” Banfill said of the symbolic donation.
Court Administrator Don Powers explained that the unveiling of the framed flag marked the final stage of an upgrade to Courtroom #2, now freshly painted and adorned with some new seating.
Presenting the Colors for the ceremony were Sgt. Bill Peck, PFC Don Hills, PFC Dave Wagner and Capt. Banfill. Alan Black gave the invocation.