The parents of Army Ranger Terrence McGovern and Marine Lance Cpl. Drew Sestito, along with a representative for Marine Sgt. Nioclas Hope were honored at Northampton Patriots Flag Program.
Duke and Patty McGovern claimed the Army flag that was in the display for their son who recently returned from a short deployment in Afghanistan. McGovern will be heading to Fort Benning in Georgia for additional training in Ranger School.
"This ceremony is very special," Duke McGovern said. "It really touches you."
The parents of Marine Drew Sestito, John and Susan, agreed with that sentiment.
After placing a flag in the display for their son who was recently deployed to Afghanistan, John Sestito thanked the township for holding the ceremony and added that he'd rather his son and McGovern (who grew up together) be there at the ceremony.
"We hope they come home safely," he said.
For the third presentation, Mike Lecker of the Marine Corps League Patriot Detachment stood in for Nioclas Hope and his family. Hope was also recently deployed to Afghanistan, according to an e-mail his mother sent to Pete Palestina, coordinator of the Patriots Flag Program.
"Nic did not get a chance to actually buy himself a home prior to leaving, so as he says, he doesn't actually have a home. He does have his dog living with his girlfriend in Northampton," his mother wrote.
Palestina said that Hope was a resident when he was first deployed to Iraq in 2009, and his flag was returned to him on April 28, 2010.
"As far as we are concerned, Nic is still one of our patriots and we are going to put his Marine flag back in tonight," Palestina said.
Palestina closed the ceremony by saying "Northampton and our country are proud of our soldiers."