Todd Kabella and his wife, Debra, were looking to replace a worn Support Our Troops flag that flew at their home, when Todd happened upon a History Channel program and before long, knew what kind of flag they would get.
The show was a documentary about James Parks, a 93-year-old, since-deceased, World War II veteran whose mission was to create a flag that would honor veterans of all wars, and have it fly in all 50 states.
“I saw it and decided that was the one,” Kabella said.
Although Parks hasn’t lived to see it, the Veterans Remembered flag now has been recognized in 25 states, among them Indiana, and, through Kabella’s efforts, those of co-worker Tom Hawes and City Councilman Robert Clemons, flies at city properties, including a Main Street war memorial, City Hall, Historic Maplewood Cemetery and Sauerman Woods Park/Hub Pool. It also flies at homes, including Kabella’s, and at Franciscan St. Anthony Health – Crown Point, where the Kabellas 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.
Timing likewise has been an ironic part of Kabella’s efforts. He ordered his first flag after seeing the documentary and it arrived the day before Veterans Day. A second order, that saw the flags placed at the other city locations, arrived on July 3, and were hoisted that day, just in time for Independence Day. He and Hawes purchased them.
They also hope to get local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and the VA clinic to fly them.
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’s 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. I didn’t hesitate when they asked if the flag could fly at the hospital,” 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 also would be to have an eight-inch-by-12-inch veteran flag added besides the U.S. flag on each veteran’s grave in the city cemetery next Memorial Day,” he said.
Hawes, who is sexton for Historic Maplewood Cemetery, and Kabella, are working to design 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 American flag in the first place.”