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Waving in another Flag Day PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 16:54

It will be the Air Force’s turn to receive a salute from longtime organizer Jack Janik at June 10 event

Each year, Waubeka’s Flag Day celebration packs in plenty of pageantry.
Between the parades, fly-overs, marching bands, food and fireworks, all the senses enjoy a treat.
Longtime organizer Jack Janik has seen years of it, but he never tires of it. In fact, he said he still gets goose bumps.
That’s mostly because the faces keep changing as more and more war veterans march on by, proudly on display.
“It’s all the military guys that mean the most to me — to see their reaction,” Janik, president of the National Flag Day Foundation, said. “The numbers that come out are great and I just enjoy being in their presence. It’s powerful.”
And the simplest of conversations with them mean so much.
“You know, I never think of our talks as ‘war stories’ but more as family stories. They become family to us,” Janik said. “It’s a given that they saved our country, but don’t forget what they did afterward — how they built our country.”
Fueled with patriotic pride, it’s that time of year again for Janik — a man who greets every customer at his Fredonia lumber company with an American Flag lapel pin. In his role as organizer for what he said is “more than 20 years, but who’s counting when you love something?” he’s got his troops at full speed in preparing for the June 10 event.
“I’ve got a great team. I always tell them,   ‘You guys do all the work and I get all the credit,’ but it wouldn’t be what it is without the volunteers,” Janik said. “And we’re always looking for more.”
As usual, a strong program can be expected, he said, as the celebration gives a salute to veterans of the U.S. Air Force in conjunction with its 70th anniversary.
“Last year, we honored the Navy, and the Army before it, and next year it will be the Coast Guard. We go down the line,’ Janik said. “But it’s not just the military. A few years back, we honored teachers. Anyone who makes a difference.”
However, this year’s event could face some challenges in drumming up a lot of anticipation. After all, last year marked Flag Day’s 100th anniversary of its official national observance.
“Yeah, coming off a year like that isn’t the easiest but we’ll give it our best shot,” he said. “Last year set attendance records and featured more than 100 (veterans) units. We had 300 chairs set up and they filled up fast. We had to run around and get more.”
This year, the Air Force veterans will be among those enjoying VIP seating while also being presented individually with an engraved commemorative plaque.
“Everyone we honor we want to feel special,” Janik said. “It’s their big day.”

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