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American flag flies at U.S. Embassy in Havana for first time since 1961

Members of the U.S. Marines raise the U.S. flag over the newly reopened embassy in Havana, Cuba, August 14, 2015. (REUTERS/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool)
BY DAN FRIEDMAN , LAURA SANICOLA , CORKY SIEMASZKO, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Aug 16, 2015 – The Stars and Stripes flew in Havana for the first time in 54 years Friday as the U.S. Embassy officially opened for business in Cuba.

Hundreds of Cubans turned up to witness the historic moment when three Marines who were there in 1961 — on the day the embassy was shuttered by the Cold War — returned to raise the flag while the United States Army Brass Quintet played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Millions more watched as Secretary of State Kerry, speaking in both English and Spanish from the grounds of the “Embassy of the United States of America” made an unprecedented call for more freedom in communist-controlled Cuba that was broadcast on state-run TV.

“We remain convinced the people of Cuba would be best served by a genuine democracy, where people are free to choose their leaders, express their ideas, practice their faith,” Kerry told an audience of Cuban and U.S. diplomats on the embassy grounds.