Marco Island's 'Big Flag' raised at foot of Jolley Bridge

Lexey Swall/Staff
Jennifer Shanahan, right, the president of the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, and members of the Marco Island Big Flag Committee hoist a 12-by-18-foot American flag on a 50-foot flag pole at the base of the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge on Monday on Marco Island. The southbound lanes of the bridge were briefly closed for the Memorial Day dedication ceremony. The privately funded project took about seven months to come to fruition.

Photo by LEXEY SWALL, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

Lexey Swall/Staff Jennifer Shanahan, right, the president of the Marco Island Sunrise Rotary Club, and members of the Marco Island Big Flag Committee hoist a 12-by-18-foot American flag on a 50-foot flag pole at the base of the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge on Monday on Marco Island. The southbound lanes of the bridge were briefly closed for the Memorial Day dedication ceremony. The privately funded project took about seven months to come to fruition.

— With a lot of help, Marco Island's "Big Flag" rose into the air Memorial Day.

The 18-by-12-foot Old Glory ascended up the 50-foot flagpole at the foot of the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge, on the Marco Island side, and rippled majestically in the breeze, with a bright blue sky as a fitting backdrop.

Southbound traffic over the bridge and onto the island was down to one lane for the ceremony, to provide space for the hundreds who turned out. Even a dozen or so boats stopped by, anchoring between the bridge and the ABC Islands to provide a spectator fleet for the event.

As Big Flag Committee chairman Dave Rice emceed, members of the committee and those instrumental in making the flag a reality took turns clipping on the snaps that held the flag. Jennifer Shanahan, president of Marco's Sunrise Rotary Club, the first to donate money for a flag, was given the honor of making the initial connection. She attended the flag-raising with her 11-week-old son.

The entire project was accomplished without any government money, said Rice, although City of Marco Island police, fire and city departments worked closely with the committee, from permitting to directing traffic for the ceremony.

"We will never take any public money" for the operation or upkeep of the flag, promised Rice. "We're going to get a big pile of money" for replacement flags and maintenance, he said.

Marco is a small island, but the massive banner will help put it on the map, he said.

"We're a raindrop in the ocean," Rice said, "but visitors will always remember the Big Flag."

Along with Rice, attendees heard from state Sen. Garrett Richter, County Commissioner Donna Fiala, Marco Island City Councilor Joe Batte, and state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo.

But it was Carole Roberts who came up with the flag idea. She said she was returning to the island during construction of the parallel span for the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge to Marco, and noticed a crane next to the bridge flying the construction company's flag. She called the company, asking them to substitute an American flag, and they did so. Roberts started thinking about a permanent installation of the Stars and Stripes, and the Big Flag seed was planted.

Batte thanked the committee for getting the job done with nothing but private money.

"That's the American spirit – individuals make it work, without government help, or government money," he said.

Powerful lights will illuminate the flag, allowing it to serve as a beacon at the entryway to Marco Island day and night.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 11

marco826 writes:

Good story.

RayPray writes:

Considering who paid for the bridge, wrong flag:

http://www.buildturkey.com/flags_bayr...

Ruger writes:

in response to RayPray:

Considering who paid for the bridge, wrong flag:

http://www.buildturkey.com/flags_bayr...

The new flag is between the old and new sections and doesn't represent either.

And our grandchildren will pay China back for the new section, Obama made sure of that. Sounds like you love that his Stimulus Projects Created Thousands of Jobs In China too..

http://townhall.com/columnists/terryj...

As time passes, the math on Obama's stimulus plan gets worse -- even if you accept the most optimistic analysis of how many jobs it has created.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office published its latest report on the "estimated impact" of the stimulus. Although it had originally estimated the stimulus would cost $787 billion, CBO now says it will cost $831 billion.

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to Ruger:

The new flag is between the old and new sections and doesn't represent either.

And our grandchildren will pay China back for the new section, Obama made sure of that. Sounds like you love that his Stimulus Projects Created Thousands of Jobs In China too..

http://townhall.com/columnists/terryj...

As time passes, the math on Obama's stimulus plan gets worse -- even if you accept the most optimistic analysis of how many jobs it has created.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office published its latest report on the "estimated impact" of the stimulus. Although it had originally estimated the stimulus would cost $787 billion, CBO now says it will cost $831 billion.

Typical small minded, cheep, I got mine you get yours, If Obama was Jesus Christ himself you would have a problem with him! Open your eyes to see who's at fault!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHash5...

RayPray writes:

Those who claim to worship abig flag simply because it is big are not much different from those recent "art critics" in Johannesburg seeking to maim the artist who unveiled the President Zuma extended penis painting.

See here:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-U6QAPzYbD8M...

Marconian writes:

That Big Flag repersents all of you rather you like it to or not. I feel regardless of your meek and some just sick comments that deep inside you want it too as well. peoples blood Has and Will Spill over That Flag For you. and you can Respect it, Honor it, Or, Die Defending it . If Not GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!!!!

RayPray writes:

in response to Marconian:

That Big Flag repersents all of you rather you like it to or not. I feel regardless of your meek and some just sick comments that deep inside you want it too as well. peoples blood Has and Will Spill over That Flag For you. and you can Respect it, Honor it, Or, Die Defending it . If Not GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!!!!

"repersents"

"rather you like it to or not."

"peoples blood Has and Will Spill"

"If Not GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY!!!!"

>>> Compiled with the cogent sensibility of the kind of true patriot that led us to our shining military triumphs in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, & Afghanistan....

condoseller writes:

The flag is breathtaking. Thank you to those who saw the need, raised the money and got it built.

Ruger writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

Typical small minded, cheep, I got mine you get yours, If Obama was Jesus Christ himself you would have a problem with him! Open your eyes to see who's at fault!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHash5...

Not at all, these are simple facts. Obama promised to reduce our national debt and it has increase over 50% during his term.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_S...

Just take a look at all of the broken promises and tell us how you can believe anything he says.

Four pages of broken promises..

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-met...

Ruger writes:

in response to condoseller:

The flag is breathtaking. Thank you to those who saw the need, raised the money and got it built.

x2

WTF_Over writes:

Pretty amazing that part time residents get involved quietly, donate the pole and move on. Unlike alot of the cranky codgers that do nothing more than crab and pontificate on this blog. The flag is glorious! Thank you to everyone involved!

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