There’s a special blend of American pride inside the new 26,000-square-foot Johnston Indoor Recreation Center that officially opened on Saturday, May 6, off Atwood Avenue.
It comes to the town in form of a United States flag that flew over the nation’s capitol in Washington, DC.
It’s affixed to the wall – just below the Mayor Joseph M. Polisena Scoreboard – that has been seen by the people from all over the Northeast who have already participated in various events such as the JamFest, a basketball tournament featuring some of the top teenage talent in the country.
The U.S. flag was a gift from Rhode Island’s Senior United States Senator Jack Reed, who Polisena said earlier this week “has always been good to our town during his valuable years in office.”
Back when more then 1,500 people attended the impressive opening ceremony for the now highly-used multi-purpose Johnston Indoor Recreation Center, Polisena made what he called “a special request to Senator Reed” asking about getting a flag for the state-of-the-art athletic facility.
Reed quickly replied: “Yes.”
The flag arrived via special courier and even Polisena was impressed and surprised with not only the flag but two special certificates, one featuring the dome of the nation’s capitol.
The first certificate – with the dome and words “Architect of the Capital” at the top and the first-ever American flag and today’s colors flanking the dome – reads: “The Flag of the Unites States of American, Certificate of Authenticity. This is to certify that the companying flag was flown over the United States Capital.”
The certificate is signed by Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, Architect of the Capitol.
The second certificate reads: “The Flag of the United States of American flow over the United States Capital In Honor of Johnston Indoor Recreation Center at the request of Sensor Jack Reed.”
Polisena said, “This flag has a lot of meaning; it’s what this country is all about and on behalf of our citizens, I thank Sen. Reed for this much appreciated and precious addition to our Indoor Recreation Center.”
When asked about the electric scoreboard, which bears his name, Polisena replied: “I wanted to do something special for our new facility so I donated the scoreboard. I purchased the scoreboard from my campaign account.”