A patriotic ribbon of red and white could be seen stretching over the "C" on C Hill Wednesday as volunteers began installing the first rows of panels on the landmark 65-by-120-foot American flag.
Mike Roach, head of construction for the C Hill flag foundation, stood with drill in hand among the structure's metal and concrete framework when his cell phone rang. It was his daughter calling from downtown Carson City.
"She said she could see some color," he said proudly.
Roach and crew were moving as fast as possible as work-stopping high winds had been forecasted for the afternoon.
A 12-member Nevada Department of Forestry prisoner work crew from Stewart Camp brought panels up the steep pass nicknamed "The Spirit Trail" while Bill Miles of Miles Brothers Construction Inc., secured a red corner panel.
Miles and company are widely credited among their flag-building peers for their relentless dedication to the project and the completion of some of the most mind-bending work.
Technicians from Miles Brothers spent three days up at the flag site with lasers and old-fashioned yellow string, making precision measurements necessary in order to engineer the jagged hillside landscape into a perfectly flat foundation for the flag.
"This flag means a lot to me and I hope it will mean just as much to the people of Carson City," said longtime volunteer Mark Green. "It's their flag. It's something for all of us to be proud of and it's built to last."
The first flag, inspired by the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was destroyed by heavy winds. Vandals damaged a subsequent version, but organizers say this flag will not suffer the same fate.
So confident was Green of the flag's ability to withstand Mother Nature's punishment that he even joked with NDF work crew chief, Tim Crowder, about the timing of last year's Waterfall fire.
"I wish this flag had been up here then," said Green, painting a dramatic picture with his hands. "That way when the smoke finally cleared all you would've seen was the red, white and blue."
Volunteer James Holt-Grant made his way up the grade toward the site, his shirt depicting a ferocious bald eagle with protracted talons protecting an American flag. The retiree and veteran of three back surgeries, Holt-Grant said he called up to volunteer a year ago.
While his back trouble has kept him from lifting too much, he has found a niche taking pictures of the flag's progress and cooking up barbecue for the workers.
"It just makes you feel good," he said, taking in the view of the valley before making the final ascent up the trail.
"I hope people visit the Web site and pass the address on to the men and women in the service overseas," said Roach. "We really want them to see what we're doing and let them know that the people on the home front really do care and support them."
Roach said he expects the work on the flag to be completed just in time for Memorial Day.
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at email@example.com or 881-1215.
Follow the progress of the C Hill Flag: www.c-hill.us/