The flag story. Last Memorial Day I became a little upset that Chipley did not display flags. I admired Wausau for their flags and stated that on my Facebook page. I was then challenged to do something about it and I took the challenge. By July 4th I had 100 flags, 75 sponsored in Honor of or in Memory of someone’s loved one. A blue ribbon, with the loved one’s name embroidered on it, was attached to each flag pole.
Next was how to display them. One day it just came to me that we could use umbrella bases. After going to every Walmart and every Lowes, my family had 100 bases for the 100 flags.
Now it came to what to put in the base to weight them down. For July 4th I used water but between leaks and the hot weather (evaporating) it just did not work as well as we wanted.
Sand/dirt came next. The problem was that the bases had to have a flap cut into them so that the dirt could go in and this weakened the base. We used these for Veterans Day but the dirt clomped because moisture seeped into it. This made the flags tilt.
After much thought, me and my husband came up with using mortar/cement with bases that are wider on the bottom and gradually become small to the top, pyramid shape. We labored to fill 62 bases and the results were great, no leakage, no clomping.
This Memorial Day I had over 140 flags to display and the flags had to go out early because my husband was going to be out of town and it can not be done without him. Tuesday night I did not sleep, I had just seen on the news that we were going to have wind gust up to 25 miles and I was not sure the bases would hold. At 5am Wednesday we put the flags out and because there was little wind they looked great. As I finished and was heading home one of the flags fell over. I rushed to Walmart and bought 25 gallon jugs of water and added water to each of the bases to help weight them down. No luck. Between the wind gust and the tractor trailers rushing down 90, the bases could not hold the flags up. I don’t think I could have done anything to the bases to make them hold under the circumstances.
I ended up meeting Chipley’s Chief of Police, who was nice enough to gather up the down flags and helped me load them into my van. I waited till that evening, when the winds died down, to set them back up. I am thankful to say the winds stayed under 10 MPH and the flags were fine. Yes, everyday a few flags had to be adjusted but not bad out of 142 flags.
Now, I would do nothing to show disrespect to our flag and so I need to face two concerns. One concern was that the flags hang close to the ground.. Let me explain. I use 6 foot flag poles with 3ft by 5ft flags. The bases are 6 inches high and we use PVC pipe to fastened the pole into the base, which adds about an inch in height. Longer poles will make the flag too top heavy, which would make it easier to tip over. The flag does not touch the ground unless the pole becomes very tilted in the base. This can easily be fixed, just straighten it back up.
Second concern is that the flags that get blown over and lay on the ground should be destroyed. I panicked on this one, Mother Nature has a mind of her own and the flags will tip over. I looked up flag etiquette and thankfully the flag can continue to be displayed and can even be washed.
My family has put over 100 hours of love and labor into the flags and we are still learning. We will strengthen the bases once again before July 4 and will hopefully find an alternative by Veterans Day. We love Chipley, this country and the American flag and we humbly apologize to those that think we have been disrespectful in any way.
The Veit Family