Citizen Potawatomi Nation and First National Bank & Trust Co. welcomed the broader community to a flag dedication ceremony on the bank’s property in Shawnee, Oklahoma, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. FNB’s marketing team organized and publicized the event, drawing city leaders and citizens.
“Chairman John ‘Rocky’ Barrett had the idea and the vision for our community to have a larger presence of the flagpole and a larger flag to really make a statement here in Shawnee,” said FNB Marketing Assistant Ashely Klewicki. “We really wanted to let our community be a part of that and part of the ceremony.”
Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt, city commissioners, Shawnee citizens and CPN leaders Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett and Vice-Chairman Linda Capps watched as Boy Scouts from Troops 461, 415, 408, 426, 417 and 414 as well as Cub Scout Troop 3417 attached and raised the flag into the sun.
“These boys have learned a lot about country, duty to country, honor, reverence, all of these things,” said Jennifer Grant, whose son is a member of Troop 415. “And so for them to get to be part of a ceremony that’s much larger than just their own troop and see something that the entire city will be seeing and part of is really special for them.”
Mayor Bolt noted the flag’s considerable size, which several Boy Scouts lined up to hold before hoisting it up the new flagpole. The bank sits at the busy intersection of East MacArthur Street and Union Avenue.
“At the top of this hill, you’re going to be able to just see that thing forever — in both directions. That’s really neat. It just shows you we have a lot of really cool stuff going on here in Shawnee,” he said.
Chairman Barrett presided over the benediction. He said a prayer in both Potawatomi and English, followed by a message of faith, unity and community and motivated those in attendance to practice thankfulness.
“I also encourage you and all Americans to honor the memories of every hero who has risked or given his or her life to protect our freedom so majestically symbolized in this flag of the United States of America,” he said. “As a nation, we must also remain forever grateful to the heroic men and women who serve as our first responders and guardians of our health and homes and education.”
Many in the crowd wore red, white and blue. Kassy Mize sang The Star-Spangled Banner, and everyone participated in the Pledge of Allegiance after the rising flag came to a full stop. In closing remarks, FNB CEO Bryan Cain talked about the unanticipated pride and patriotism he felt watching it fly in the wind.
“We may just be individuals in this community, but when we work together and we are united, we can withstand COVID — we can withstand whatever storm or wind of change that comes our way,” he said. “So, I hope as you travel down MacArthur here, that the same sense of pride and patriotism swells up in you every time you see it.”
First National Bank & Trust Co.’s main branch is located at 130 E MacArthur, Shawnee, OK 74804. Visit FNB online at fnbokla.com or call 405-275-8830.