Resident Donates American Flag to Fair Lawn [Video]
Rich Seibel, a lifelong resident whose son Jordan is a Marine veteran, donated an American Flag to the borough on Tuesday.
Anyone who's attended a Fair Lawn council meeting or watched one on television has probably seen Rich Seibel. It's rare that a meeting or work session passes without Seibel publicly reminding the mayor and council to recognize the sacrifice of a service member who has fallen, to keep all military personnel and families in their thoughts or to fly borough flags at half-staff following an official proclamation.
Seibel, whose son Jordan (FLHS '08) is a marine veteran who returned from serving in Afghanistan two years ago, stepped to the podium at Tuesday's council meeting and presented the borough with a new American Flag to replace the worn and tattered one that had been flying on Fair Lawn Avenue at Route 208.
"This flag is being donated by my family and myself as a gesture of appreciation to the people of Fair Lawn for the continued ongoing leadership and support for our veterans and our armed forces," said Seibel, who proceeded to deliver a moving speech that caused him to choke up at times.
"This is your flag," he said at the conclusion of his speech. "Fly it proud."
Here is the text of Seibel's speech in its entirety:
“Throughout America’s history, young Americans have been called upon to serve and sacrifice for this great nation. Today’s 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds were too young to make sense of the event’s that occurred on 9/11…yet these volunteers have dedicated themselves to defend this country and answer the call of duty against all enemies in today’s global war on terror.
As fate would have it, this presentation is being made as our country prepares for Memorial Day weekend. There will be barbecues, graduations, proms, the Indy 500, parades. This is also a time when we honor and remember all those who have fallen in battle. Our town has seen 43 of its citizens from several wars give the last full measure of devotion.
This is also a time of year when many American families are preparing their sons and daughters for a ritual known as boot camp. These young patriots will be asked to fill out a last will and testament, assign a next of kin and indicate a blood type. And most importantly they will bind themselves to the military code of conduct, as Article I states, 'I am an American, fighting in the armed forces which guard my country and our way of life. I am prepared to give my life in their defense.'
The American flag flies because of all those who serve and have served. The American flag flies to give comfort to the families who sacrifice so that we may be free. On Memorial Day we will observe a national moment of silence at 3 p.m., we will fly the colors at half-staff and we will stand at attention when Taps is played and the 21 guns sound.
All I ask in return is that we all honor our country and those who sacrificed and remember the families of the fallen whenever you look upon this flag. If you should have the good fortune to encounter one of our heroes, offer a handshake and thank them for their service and tell them to keep their heads down and call their mother.”