For those traveling along James and Dominick streets downtown this week, there is something new to see.
Anchored to utility poles along the streets are patriotic-themed, “Keep the Spirit” and “Rome United” banners.
William Guglielmo, the executive director of the Rome Chamber explains that the banners are installed as a way to inspire residents to keep the enthusiasm for both the community and for events that are canceled (due to the coronavirus pandemic) such as the Honor America Days celebration that was originally slated to run from July 24 to Aug. 9.
Adding more to the banner story, “traditionally the Honor America Days Committee hangs banners in the downtown area leading up to the Honor America Days Celebration. However, this year thanks to a generous donation by Woodmen Insurance we were able to create new inspirational banners in hopes of lifting the community’s spirits in these troubling times. On behalf of all our past (Honor America Days) sponsors, the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Rome, we hope everyone continues in good health and stays safe throughout the year,” said Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo in a statement released by the Rome Chamber of Commerce.
The traditional event was scrapped at the beginning of May - along with numerous other summer staple events in the region - due to coronavirus pandemic social distancing guidelines and sensitivity over funding.
At the time of its cancellation, city officials said the decision was more than not being able to adequately create a community health minded socially distant experience in response to the pandemic virus, it was also about
“We also want to be sensitive to our business owners who have been so generous over the last 30-plus years with donations of money and services who now must focus their attention and resources to reopening their businesses that were forced to close to help reduce the spread of the virus...” Izzo said in a statement at the time.
This year, the 36-year-old celebration was also originally to be a larger affair as Rome celebrates its 150th anniversary of incorporation as a city.
On Wednesday, Guglielmo added that Romans has long-loved the event, and “it will be back next year.”