CROWN POINT | Todd Kabella and his wife, Debra, were looking to replace a worn Support Our Troops flag at their home, when Todd happened upon a History Channel television program led the couple to a distinctive new banner.
The documentary was about James Parks, then 93 and since-deceased, World War II veteran whose mission was to create a flag that would honor veterans of all wars and have it flying in all 50 states.
“I saw it and decided that was the one,” Kabella said of the Veterans Remembered flag.
Although Parks didn't live to see it, the Veterans Remembered flag has been recognized in 25 states, among them Indiana.
Through the efforts of Kabella, co-worker Tom Hawes and Crown Point City Councilman Robert Clemons, the flag now flies at city properties, including the Main Street war memorial, City Hall, Maplewood Cemetery and Sauerman Woods Park/Hub Pool. It also flies at several local homes and Franciscan St. Anthony Health Crown Point, where the Kabella couple both work.
“I started getting sentimental watching that program, thinking about how when soldiers come home and the welcome parades are over, that it’s often over as far as remembering what they did. This is to show support and to always remember what they did,” said Kabella, whose son is an Army National Guard specialist and whose nephew also serves in the military.
Good timing has blessed Kabella’s efforts. He ordered his first flag after seeing the documentary and it arrived a day before Veterans Day. A second order purchased by Kabella and Hawes for the municipal sites arrived July 3, and those flags were hoisted just in time for Independence Day.
Franciscan St. Anthony Health president David Ruskowski said he was proud to grant permission for the flag to fly at the hospital. “I was moved by Tom Hawes’ and Todd Kabella’s sentiments toward our veterans, who often don’t get enough recognition for their selfless sacrifices in the name of our freedom," Ruskowski said.
Hawes said they plan to take the effort further.
“As a veteran myself, I think such a flag is long overdue. My goal would be to have an 8-by-12-inch veterans flag added besides the U.S. flag on each veteran’s grave in the city cemetery next Memorial Day,” he said.
Toward that goal, Hawes, who is sexton for Maplewood Cemetery, and Kabella, are designing a holder for both flags.
Added Kabella, “Without the sacrifices of our soldiers, from all the way back to the earliest times, there would have been no U.S. flag in the first place.”
Proceeds from flag sales go to the American Veterans Association. More information is available at veteransrememberedflag.com and on the Crown Point website, www.crownpointin.gov.