What should've been a purely red, white and blue day of celebration for the volunteers finishing up the last row of panels on the 65-by-120-foot American flag above the "C" on C Hill was tainted by the stain of vandalism.
As workers arrived around 8 a.m. Thursday morning to finish up work on the project, they found that some of the flag's 4-by-5-foot Alumilite panels had been tossed down the hill and others had been arranged in an apparent effort to turn the Carson City "C" into an "E."
Foundation board member Gil Ayarbe was outraged.
"I think the people who came up here and desecrated the flag are cowards," he said. "It's confusing to me why anyone would want to ruin something like this - something that's so great for everybody."
Ayarbe said he hopes anybody who sees someone vandalizing the flag will call the Carson City Sheriff's Department.
Volunteer Mark Green, who has logged hundreds if not thousands of hours laboring on the hill, took a more vigilante-style attitude. "If you come up here to damage the flag, and I catch you, I will [expletive] hurt you."
Green says security cameras will be installed at the site soon.
The flag has more than $50,000 worth of material in it according to Green, not to mention the uncountable hours of volunteer labor that went into its building.
"It's really unfortunate," said Bill Miles. "Maybe these people need a history lesson in what our flag stands for."
"Karma will get to them," he added, smiling in the afterthought.
But the militia talk of high-powered rifles with night-scopes passed as the damaged panels were patched up and work got under way and drills began securing the last of the 390 panels around 11:30 a.m.
In a "golden-spike" ceremony, volunteers Josh Buscay, Tyrone Schutz, Greg Bierman, James Holt-Grant, Green and Ayarbe each took a turn with the drill on the final panel to a tonic of applause.
After more than two years of laborious fund-raising, engineering and planning, the new C Hill flag is complete.
"This is for the city and its people," said Ayarbe. "It's spirit that holds us together as a community and it's spirit that held us together as a group for these long years."
An official dedication is scheduled for May 14 at 11 a.m.
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at email@example.com or 881-1215.