The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 14, 2014

Patriot Memorial Flag dedication today at East Marion Park

FAIRMONT — The 125-foot Korean Memorial Flag will be waving in the wind by noon today.

At 11:45 a.m., the Marion County Patriot Memorial Flag dedication will begin at East Marion Park near the Korean War Memorial. The official 50-foot by 30-foot flag will be tethered onto the pole during a ceremonial dedication.

The flag will be drawn up into the sky by noon as the national anthem is sung, according to flag project designer and coordinator Rick Hardman.

“It’s to show the patriotism of the community. Everyone thinks it’s a military flag, but it’s not,” Hardman said. “It’s a community flag. It’s a flag representing our freedom and dedication to our patriotism.”

The dedication ceremony is booked to have local military groups, local political figures and others. Hardamn said people should attend this ceremony for the “pride of your community and support of our heritage.”

The memorial flag project began in 2011 and was funded with donations made through Your Community Foundation. Last month, the flagpole, which stands just short of 125 feet, was transported in four pieces to East Marion Park from Texas.

The pole was assembled and welded together after its arrival, and on May 19, the pole was erected. On May 20, a flag was hung on the pole as a test.

The entire project was a massive undertaking, according to Hardman. A variety of resources and preparation were used to get the site ready for a massive flagpole.

Hardman acquired soil sample reports from the West Virginia Division of Highways and a map of the old Consol Mine 57. The mine should have been about 49 feet below the surface.

Workers first dug a hole 4 feet in diameter down 16 feet, then dug a three-foot-diameter hole the rest of the way into the mine shaft. The mine shaft ended up being 50 feet below the surface.

A caisson, a water-tight metal sleeve that is used to build bridge foundations, was put into the hole, said Hardman. Concrete and a 40-foot-long H-pile beam were used to further secure the foundation.

Before being sealed, Hardman secured copper wire on the H-pile to help ground the pole. The mine is not gaseous and “has been sealed off” for many years, Hardman said.

The flagpole also has a concrete base that is 16 feet deep and 8 feet by 8 feet at the surface.

Hardman also had to secure Federal Aviation Administration permission to have a 125-foot-tall flagpole. In 2009, the FAA granted the flagpole a number, which was given to the Marion County Commission office.

Hardman designed the flag to be 38 meters tall to pay tribute to Korean War veterans.

“The 38th parallel is where they drew the DMZ,” he said, explaining that the Demilitarized Zone is a no-combat zone that marks the border between North and South Korea.

The flagpole is painted black and has LED lights that illuminate the flag at night. Hardman said this will give the flag an illusion of flying by itself at night.

Hardman thanked West Virginia Woodmen of the World, the Rotary Club of Fairmont, the Chesapeake Energy Corp. and the Marion County Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation for helping to fund this project.

He also thanked Tom Jordan of U.S. Flag Supply in Beaumont, Texas; Dave Atkins and crew of City Crane in Morgantown; welders Randy Zirkle and Tim Schiffbauer; and the crew of Marion County Parks for assisting in erecting the flagpole.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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