Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

October 26, 2014 at 12:06pm

Tacoma Screw honors veterans with a giant flag

Members of the Pacific Lutheran University ROTC Color Guard raise the flag at Tacoma Screw. Erected to mark the company’s 70th anniversary, the 180-foot flagpole is the largest in the Pacific Northwest. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

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"That is one big flag" said a Pacific Lutheran University ROTC cadet as she looked up at Tacoma Screw's new flagpole. Towering at 180 feet tall, the pole supports a flag measuring 40 feet by 80 feet. It's the tallest flagpole in the Pacific Northwest.

Built to commemorate Tacoma Screw's 70th anniversary, the company's credit services and marketing manager Michael Howard said that it was also built to honor veterans. A flag-raising ceremony was held at the company's Tacoma headquarters Oct. 25.

Howard told the crowd gathered to see the dedication that as the company came up on its anniversary, they tried to figure out the best way to celebrate it. He said they decided the best way to celebrate their success was to give back to their community and those who protect it. "We remain proud of our Tacoma roots and our Tacoma legacy" he told the audience.

One of the speakers was Don Dossa. His father and two brothers all served in the military. "You maybe thank a checker at the store or a friend every day, but veterans don't hear thank you enough," Dossa told the crowd.

>>> PLU ROTC military science instructor Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Hughes hooks up the flag at the dedication ceremony for Tacoma Screw's new flagpole. Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

American Veterans Department of Washington Commander Charles Wharton commended Tacoma Screw for showing its support for veterans. He gave the crowd a lesson on the history of the American flag and its significance.

Members of the PLU ROTC Color Guard raised the flag. The program's professor of military science, Lt. Col. Kevin Keller, said organizers asked a few weeks ago if his cadets were available after the previous flag raisers dropped out.

>>> Pacific Lutheran University Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Kevin Keller listened to speakers at the dedication ceremony for Tacoma Screw's new flagpole Oct. 25. Photo by Kevin Knodell

>>> American Veterans Dept. of Wash. Commander Charles Wharton addresses the crowd at the dedication ceremony for Tacoma Screw's new flagpole.Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

This fell outside of the color guard's typical event types, they usually present (much smaller) flags for ceremonies and sporting events. It took everyone on their color guard roster - and then some. "This is more than just the color guard out here," Keller said.

It is indeed, one big flag.

Howard said that this moment was two years in the making. The flag was so tall, they needed approval from the Federal Aviation Administration and Joint Base Lewis McChord. It required wading through a lot of regulations, paperwork and signatures.

It also required cash.

Howard wouldn't say how much specifically it cost, only saying it cost "a serious chunk of money."

>>> Photo credit: Kevin Knodell

Filed under: Ceremony, Community, Tacoma, Veterans,
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