Trials and Tribulations of a flag unfurled- Admiral King Tribute Site
Nothing worthwhile ever does. However even I , who tries to see the problems that may occur in any project Charleston Village Society takes on, wasn’t prepared for the “flag”.
I knew going in the “Flag of the United States of America” needed to be treated with honor and respect- the flag is an iconic symbol that means so much to so many people.
When flying the flag- you are flying the hopes, bravery, desires, history of a nation and those that fought for the ideals of that nation.
When it was decided to commemorate Admiral Ernest J King’s birthplace
we knew there had to be a flag pole and Black River Historical Society had just the perfect one. The flag pole had been donated to them and had for many years sat at the entrance to the American Shipyard where many ships had been built and launched during World War Two when Admiral King was the Commander in Chief, United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations (COMINCH-CNO)
Launching of the USS Lorain – American Ship
How wonderful- a link to history, pride and place we thought and how appropriate to commemorate Admiral King.
I was told that you ordered the flag size in a height ratio to the flag pole and so we did. Since there were three “arms to this pole ” it was decided to fly the State of Ohio flag on one arm and the naval signal flags spelling K_I_N_G on the opposite side.
Unfortunately we do not have the volunteers that are able to lower the flag in the evening nor to raise it in the morning every day, but you can leave the flag flying as long as it is lighted. AH! great BUT there is no electricity at the site so it meant a “solar flag pole light” – no problem -research showed they were available and we purchased the most powerful on the market. The city helped us with their bucket truck to install the light and solar panel near the top of the pole. We had light!
What we also had was a problem- after a couple of days phone calls started coming in – there was no light on the flag pole- upon checking the “Stars and Stripes” billowing madly in the off shore winds was catching upon the light and causing the solar panel to point to the ground instead of the sun.
Ok! back with the bucket truck and an adjustment the light would have to go lower and out of the way of the “Stars and Stripes” – this however caused the State of Ohio flag to take over and take on the solar panel. We had to lower the solar light ( which is attached to the panel) once more and put it in a place where those that might wish to take it couldn’t without a hassle and at the same time protect it from the flags.
Days passed and upon checking on the flags and the site I began to notice the “Stars and Stripes ” and the State of Ohio flag were looking a little tattered.
We took them down once more and apparently the flags were getting caught around the cross bar- the “Stars and Stripes” in particular- we adjusted guide wires etc and did a Betsy Ross and mended the fraying edges and put them back- September would find a new set of flags being flown.
Still in another couple of weeks the flags started to look care worn again- we put up the extra (just in case ) flags we had . Once again a few days later and the same thing was happening – I met with Gary Fischer- the architect of the site
to discuss the upcoming ceremony and I mentioned I didn’t know what was happening with the flags. We had followed all the guidelines height – flag ratio – and I know this is a very windy spot but … Gary smiled and said:
well part of the problem is that this ISN”T a flag pole but it looks to be a “ship’s mast” – it looks like it could be off a minesweeper- so those flags are the wrong size for the mast
( American Ship used to build mine sweepers so perfectly logical assumption.)
The flags were simply too big. We took down the flags once more- “The Stars and Stripes” that had been flown over the Capital Building being raised on the day of the dedication would be too big but we decided to have it raised along with the too big State of Ohio flag and after the ceremony correctly fold the “historically Admiral King significant flag” and give it to Black River historical Society to place in the case at Admiral King Elementary. We also purchased a smaller State of Ohio flag and reversed the positions with the signal flags so the prevailing off shore winds helped keep the Ohio Flag out of trouble.
All was well until I had a phone call from Renee yesterday the smaller “Stars and Stripes” (donated by Congresswoman Sutton’s office) was shredded the bottom red stripe flying free- What had happened since the day before all was well????
Sigh our Betsy Ross is at the sewing machine machine fixing the flag once again and once again the flag will unfurl.
I have to purchase at least two more flags- one to fly and one for a back-up -anyone have any idea as so solutions to this problem- the material used to make the flags doesn’t seem to make too much difference- the cloth-like one seemed to hold up a little better.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated- the area is extremely breezy most days. Ideally it would be better of course to lower and raise the flag every day – anyone interested in that job? Let me know
The next installment : The trials and tribulations of “RECYCLING”