- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - A partnership involving the bankrupt city, a Michigan company and veterans groups has brought back American flags to downtown Detroit’s Hart Plaza for the first time in more than a decade.

Five new U.S. flags were raised Tuesday to the top of five new flagpoles as veterans saluted, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press.

Michael Soviak, president and CEO of a company Revolution Flag Group that sells and maintains flags and flagpoles, noticed the empty poles during a visit. He said he later learned from officials that the cash-strapped city removed the flags about 14 years ago.

“The flags won’t change the city’s problems,” said Soviak, who announced the partnership last year. “But what they will say is that we didn’t stand here and do nothing while a part of our great city and a symbol of the greatest country ever was neglected.”

A crowd sang “God Bless America” after the flags were raised. A donation from the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 9 in Detroit funded the five new flags and poles. Plans call for 20 to be installed by Flag Day on June 14. Fundraising is ongoing for the $60,000 project.

“This is the start of honoring our veterans,” said Paul Palazzolo, the chapter’s vice president. “Now we have to raise the money for the rest of the flagpoles. We’re going to get it done.”

Monday being raised will pay for flags, flagpoles and maintenance for at least two years, as well as a solar-powered system for lighting them. Donations may be made at any Chase Bank branch to the account name “Revolution Flag Foundation.” Details are on the company’s website.

“Patriotism in the city of Detroit matters,” Soviak said. “Detroit was the ‘Arsenal of Democracy,’ and today, we’re bringing patriotism back.”




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