At 20 feet by 38 feet, it’s safe to say there’s no flag in the Huntingdon area larger than the one at Flagpole Hill.
New American flags are purchased each year by Huntingdon’s Elks Lodge 976. These enormous flags cost nearly $1,000 to be replaced.
It’s a price willingly paid.
“It’s just our tradition as Elks. We hold the military and our country in the highest regard,” said Esteemed Leading Knight Scott Casner of the Huntingdon Elks Lodge 976. “It’s a duty we see as essential.”
The flag flies year round, although for its protection it is lowered when the Huntingdon fireworks are displayed.
“We have to replace it every couple months usually, though it could be closer to a year depending on the weather,” said Huntingdon Borough Manager Daniel Varner. “When it gets frayed, we try to mend it as best we can, too.”
Replacing the flag isn’t quite as easy as one might imagine.
“We need to have at least four guys to replace the flag,” said Varner. “We obviously can’t let it touch the ground until we’re able to retire it properly.”
According to a Daily News article from 2017, the late Albert Rung, a local historian, traced the first flag pole atop Flagpole Hill back to 1892, when it was erected to celebrate Columbus Day.
That particular pole was made of wood, and according to Rung it was known to have been destroyed by lightning sometime around 1904. It was replaced again in 1910.
During this time period, the flag was flown only on days determined by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Now made of iron, and with the dedication of patriotic community members, the flagpole is graced by the Stars and Stripes not just on Flag Day but year round.
Nathan can be reached at email@example.com.