Above, in honor of Flag Day, the Bristol Exchange Club presented Dr. Michael Lantiere with the club’s “Proudly We Hail” award, presented annually on Flag Day. Committee chairperson Erin King, left, presented Lantiere with the award on June 14 at the Little League Center, just before the start of Little League Challenger Division Day activities. Below left, the flag itself.
In honor of Flag Day, the Bristol Exchange Club has honored Dr. Michael Lantiere for his instrumental role in making a project to install a flag at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Leadership Training Center a reality.
Lantiere, a Southington resident with a dental practice in Plainville, is also Assistant Umpire-in-Chief for the Little League East Region. He was nominated for the award because of his work to purchase and maintain the massive flag. Lantiere was presented the award on June 14 at the Little League Center.
The 20-foot by 30-foot poplin flag flies atop an 80-foot flagpole installed just before the start of the 2013 Little League Baseball Tournament. But as Lantiere explains, the story of the flag goes back farther. The idea began as part of a national Little League Baseball initiative called “To Honor Our Hometown Heroes” after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The idea was to initiate a constant reminder of the sacrifices and dedication of all hometown heroes, including first responders and military personnel. After more than a decade — and the generous support of local businesses and individuals — the flag, pole and paved monument at its base became a reality, Lantiere says.
The flag display area also features granite monuments depicting firefighters and police officers with Little Leaguers, positioned on a home plate-shaped platform with granite benches. All 12 teams participating in last year’s East Region Baseball Tournament presented the flag for its inaugural display last summer.
In addition to Lantiere, supporters who helped made the display a reality include Ed D’Amato and D’Amato Construction, Paul Matteo, James Manafort, the Massachusetts District Administrators, England Family Monument Company, Bristol Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi and Bristol Fire Chief Jon Pose.
The Proudly We Hail project is part of an effort by Exchange Clubs nationwide designed to promote and honor those who display the nation’s flag properly and regularly as a sign of patriotism. Promoting Americanism is one of the four programs of service engaged in by Exchange Clubs. This is the third year the award has been presented in the city on Flag Day.
For more information, to join the committee, or to nominate for consideration of the Proudly We Hail award an individual, family, or business that you think ought to be recognized for its patriotic and respectful display of the flag, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.