The Foundation of the Reading Pagoda and the City of Reading hosted a flag-raising atop Mount Penn Sunday afternoon in conjunction with the National Patriotic Order Sons of America, the organization who generously provided the new American flag.
“Over the winter, components of the flagpole and flag in front of the Pagoda weathered some damage, and it became necessary to replace these items,” said Councilwoman Marcia Goodman-Hinnershitz. “With a new pulley system purchased by the City, plus the donation of this new American flag, we are able to properly celebrate Flag Day with the community.”
“I’m excited, because this installation also serves as the kick-off to a series of renovations and improvements planned for the Pagoda and its surrounding parkland”, Goodman-Hinnershitz added.
Jamar Kelly, Director of Administrative Services for the City of Reading, is the newly appointed Treasurer of the Foundation for the Reading Pagoda. He elaborated on the plans for the upcoming improvements. “Over the summer, we will be upgrading the traffic patterns to the circular drive and making some additional improvements to the parking lot” said Kelly.
“In looking to other cities who have been entrusted with stewarding historic architectural structures, we have started the process of assessing what needs to be preserved immediately, and what we need to work towards to assure the stability and long-term presence of the symbol of our City for over a century – for both our residents and our admirers visiting from afar.”
Foundation Member and Councilman Donna Reed explained, “Last spring, the City of Reading had to shut down operations at many of their facilities, including the Pagoda. For those of you who have recently visited, you are aware that the building remains closed. During the pause from the pandemic, the Foundation was able to review the integrity of the building and grounds. We will conduct repairs and maintenance and thereafter safely reopen.”
To alleviate some of the disappointment that the Pagoda remains closed for now, Pagoda Skyline Inc. once again made Pagoda items accessible for the Flag Day celebration, opening a Pagoda Pop-Up Shop right after the Flag Day ceremony.
“We’ve had a tremendous response from the community during these Pop Ups, and we’re excited to provide another chance to buy limited edition favorite local landmark souvenirs and mementos” said PSI’s President Mike Reinert.
To honor the flag raising, local resident and vocalist Elta Jackson-Henry sang the Star-Spangled Banner.
The Patriotic Order Sons of America was founded in 1847 and is one of America’s oldest Patriotic and fraternal societies still in existence. The organization teaches respect and proper care of the American Flag, encourages the preservation of historic landmarks, and supports the education of all citizens.
Reading Mayor Eddie Morán was not in attendance Sunday, but did provide a statement: “It fills me with great enthusiasm that our City takes the time to honor the American Flag, also known as Old Glory. Although the United States has several patriotic symbols, this one, in particular, reflects the feeling of strength, unity, sovereignty, and hope that collectively permeates among those who were born here, came here and call this land home. Each color, stripe, and star, have a higher meaning. Happy Flag Day, Reading.”