City of Watertown raises Pan-African flag to celebrate Juneteenth

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — For the first time, Juneteenth was honored as a national holiday in Watertown.

On June 19, City of Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith, along with City Council Members, raised the Pan-African flag in front of Watertown City Hall.

This flag raising was to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States in the 1800s.

Along with local lawmakers, many community members attended the ceremony and Watertown Juneteenth Celebration Organizer Bianca Ellis spoke before the flag was raised.

Watertown Juneteenth Celebration Organizer Bianca Ellis and Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith prepare to raise the Pan-African flag above City Hall, June 19, 2021

Juneteenth has been honored by Americans since 1865 to honor the day when Union troops arrived in Texas with the message that all those enslaved were free.

This was the 8th year Juneteenth has been celebrated in Watertown.

Juneteenth was made a state holiday in New York State in 2020 by Governor Andrew Cuomo and a national holiday in 2021 by President Joe Biden.

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