More than 200 people stood up on a hillside 1,200 feet above the city and pledged their allegiance to the 65-by-120-foot American flag on the face of C Hill as the new and improved Old Glory was officially dedicated just past 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
Caravans of four-wheel-drive vehicles shuttled patriots, young and old, up the steep incline to the saddle of the hill, where they mingled in the bright sun before the dedication ceremony or hiked up the Spirit Trail to get a first-hand look at the flag itself.
For many, it was their first time up on the hill.
Becky Ritter sat by the flag putting together a kite with an osprey's image which she hoped to fly over the huge monument. She said she's been following the construction from down in the valley through her binoculars.
"It's absolutely awesome," she said, taking in the flag, the perfect weather and the views of Carson City. "I already had respect for the people who built this, but being up here just gives you a whole different level of astonishment."
Ditto Doke said the last time he was on the hill, he was in high school, getting hazed by his football team. "I got chased down the mountain in my underwear," he laughed.
This time, he'd come to show the flag to his young son, Jakob. The construction worker said he's worked with flag engineer and volunteer Bill Miles before and wasn't surprised at how well the flag turned out.
"He does really great work," said Doke.
After a spirited duet of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by flag volunteers Brittany McClelland and Mark Green, the president of the C Hill Flag Foundation, Robin Williamson, thanked everyone for coming out, as well as Dwight Mailard, on whose land everyone was standing. Williamson said turnout was better than she had hoped.
"Does everybody here have the spirit?" asked Gil Ayarbe of the C Hill Flag Foundation to a roaring applause.
"This is like 1776 all over again," he said to the crowd. "You make our hearts feel good. You didn't let us down."
Poet Jack Nealon said it was a challenge to find just the right piece to recite for the proceedings, but finally settled on Henry Holcomb Bennett's "The Flag Goes By."
After the brief ceremony, Williamson encouraged everyone to have some "Sprit" hot dogs and "Spirit" hamburgers. Jokingly, she also encouraged anyone who wanted the authentic flag-building experience to hoist a bag of concrete from a pile at the head of the Spirit Trail and carry it up to the flag.
Nobody went for that one.
Among those present were Assemblywoman Bonnie Parnell, D-Carson City; Yolanda Garcia from Sen. Harry Reid's, D-Nev., office; Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong and Undersheriff Steve Albertsen; Carson City Supervisor Shelly Aldean; Steve Robinson from Gov. Guinn's office; and representatives from the Nevada Division of Forestry and Iron Workers' Local 118, Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Legion and the U.S. Forest Service.
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