On November 12, Florida Health Care Association honored long term care professionals and residents who served in the United States Armed Forces during a Flag Dedication Ceremony at the Association’s headquarters in downtown Tallahassee. The event featured Lt. General Lawrence Snowden, retired Marine Corp veteran with more than 37 years of service, including combat as a Company Commander with the 23d Marines in the assault on Iwo Jima; Steve Murray, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force (retired), representing the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs; the Lincoln High School NJROTC Color Guard and area skilled nursing facility (aka nursing homes) and assisted living facility caregivers and residents, several of who are veterans.
“Florida’s skilled nursing facilities represent more than 280,000 employees and care for over 71,000 residents statewide, and many of the men and women working and residing in those facilities served our great country,” said Emmett Reed, FHCA Executive Director. “We erected this flagpole and are proud to dedicate the flag this morning to honor these brave veterans for their service and the sacrifices they made for our freedom.”
The American flag dedicated as part of the ceremony was flown by American troops in Iraq, and embedded into the flagpole base is a remnant from Saddam Hussein’s palace. The flag and remnant were brought back from Iraq by FHCA Chief Lobbyist Bob Asztalos, a U.S. Navy reservist who was stationed there in 2005, serving as a senior chief hospital corpsman with the U.S. Marine Corps. “The flag is more than the fabric that it is made from. It has meaning for which people shed their lives,” said Asztalos.