By Lorenzo Recupero
Pope John honored Military Veterans all across the country in their latest win at Everett Stadium this past weekend, hand flying the United States flag throughout the entire game – a rain soaked one – without letting it ever touch ground or flagpole.
The flag flying that day as a show of honor and respect for all the brave service members past and present was being held by a former player of Pope John assistant coach Mark Silvestri, who is a United States Army vet.
The flag, gifted to the team by coach Silvistri on the way to Cape Cod to play St. John Paul High School during week 5 of the regular season, rode the wind especially in his honor that night.
Silvestri, who brought the flag home from his time deployed at an observation post in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009, flew the banner for 20 days as he manned the post, a symbol of defiance towards the enemy Taliban forces in the area.
The flag was flown in battle then as a symbol of the strength and resolve, according to Silvestri, traits he hoped to pass on to his players as they continued to march forward in their historic undefeated season.
“They were traveling so far and into enemy territory that week so I just wanted to give them something for a show of pride,” said Silvestri.
Since being gifted the banner, the Tigers have won most all their games in blowout fashion, including a sectional championship, all to the liking of coach Silvestri.
“[The team] took that flag and made it more than it could ever mean flying in Afghanistan,” he said.