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Western New Yorkers celebrate Flag Day

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 08:36:15-04

Flag Day is a chance to celebrate the star and stripes for everyone in the United States.  At BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, they decided to honor the flag in a big way.

They unveiled a massive 40 by 60 foot American flag on the side of their headquarters in downtown Buffalo.  It stretches across four stories of the building and will be hanging up for the next couple of days.

But with the timing of recent events, Vice President of Corporate Relations Julie Snyder thought Tuesday's ceremony was particularly special.

"We scheduled this about a month ago, obviously well in advance of the tragedy in Orlando.  But today, what a day to pay honor to the flag, to being an American and to all that represents," she said.

Snyder said the holiday helped bring people together, which is exactly what Jim Sudyn was trying to do at the Naval and Military Park.

He's a case manager for the Veterans Outreach Center in Buffalo.  They help more than 1,000 veterans every year find employment, education and housing.  Sudyn handed out flags today and helped raise awareness to how difficult it is for veterans to return home from combat.

"I think a lot of the public doesn't realize the transition that it takes for someone coming out of the military into civilian life.  It's sometimes a lot more difficult than people realize," he said.

The toll, Sudyn explained, isn't just a physical one.

"A lot of times, their wounds are unseen.  They're not exterior wounds, they're more inside.  We try to help them come back to where they need to be and become adjusted back into civilian life," he said.