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‘United We Stand’: Team promotes patriotism throughout southern New England

Many of you have noticed patriotic banners and American flags popping-up on some overpasses across southern New England. NBC 10 News caught up with the team behind them in East Providence on Friday, May 19, 2017. (WJAR)

Many of you have noticed patriotic banners and American flags popping-up on some overpasses across southern New England.

NBC 10 News caught up with the team behind them on Friday in East Providence.

The Lyons Avenue overpass is the latest to get the treatment in the area. It's the second "United We Stand" installation of the day, consisting of a banner and an American flag.

Paul Alegria, originally from Bristol, Rhode Island, now Waltham, Massachusetts, is leading the charge. He recalls when the depth of his patriotism first struck.

“World War Two. I was a child at the time. My uncle came back from the war in a shoe box. And my Aunt Mary wore black (for the rest of her) life,” Alegria said. “That was a period where we were united. And there was nothing that was going to divide us at that time.”

The team first started in 2015, the ramp up to New Hampshire primary. The slogan's great, but how can we be united today if deep political differences have created the divide?

“As Patrick Henry said, 'United we stand, divided we fall'. And that was in 1799,” said Alegria.

In the past three years, the group has put together 600 installations across New England.

Alegria said his movement is not Democratic, Republican, or independent, adding that “it's American. Not any political, religious -- it does not really matter -- it just matters that we're here and that we're Americans.”

Permits aren't issued to put up the banners and flags on overpasses, so the team takes them down after three weeks to keep the peace.

The group is not yet officially a non-profit. So far, private donations have covered costs. They're still in the “roots” phase of the grass roots organization, hoping it will blossom nationally. He needs help with all of that, including a web designer.

Do the controversies surrounding the current President trouble him?

“We have to demand of our elected officials the truth, please,” Alegria said.

That way, he said, the bigger picture is protecting the Constitution.

“The flag is not just a flag,” Alegria said. “It's an embodiment of all the sacrifices millions of Americans have made, also what the families suffered through, what my aunt suffered through. That's a part of the history we can't forget.”

To help Alegria in his efforts, contact him at 781-307-2247.

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