“Follow the Flag” was established in June 2015. I was approached by a longtime friend, Kyle Fox, who had seen an American flag hanging between two canyon walls in a nearby city and wanted to replicate the idea on a larger scale. He described how he wanted to display the flag across a 600-foot-wide crevice in Grove Creek Canyon, in Pleasant Grove, Utah. He had requested my help because he knew that my profession as a Key Grip and Stunt Coordinator had equipped me with the tools and knowledge to execute his vision. Initially, we discussed renting a flag, but there were concerns that it could get damaged. As a result, we decided to create our own flag. We then consulted with Colonial Flag in Draper Utah, to assist in manufacturing our own 30×60 foot Old Glory. The flag was purchased with the help of a $500 donation from our primary sponsor, Low VA Rates, with the remaining cost divided between Kyle and I.
After receiving permission from both the city of Pleasant Grove and the National Forest Service, the process to rig our Nation’s beautiful flag between the walls of Grove Creek Canyon commenced. Kyle and I oversaw the manufacturing of our new flag and purchased the necessary materials, lines, and anchors to rig the flag safely. On July 4, 2015, we held our first ceremony to unveil the flag. Family, friends, and a few community members were invited to participate. Boy Scouts of Troop 1166 and 26 from the Utah National Parks Council, Timpanogos District, were vital in executing the project by carrying the flag up the mountain to the point where it would be displayed. Each night over the course of the week, these local boy scouts camped on-site and watched over the flag from dusk to dawn. The flag was lit nightly, from approximately 9:15 p.m. to 4:50 a.m., for one week, using a 7K Xenon light which has been heralded as one of the brightest lights on Earth. We felt that only the best and brightest light should be used to highlight our Nation’s flag and honor the men and women who have fought, and are fighting for our freedom each and every day.
What started as a shared idea between two friends, to celebrate our Nation’s birth and encourage patriotism in the hearts of our community, has inspired thousands of people as the flag can be seen up to 50 miles away. After multiple requests, the flag was unveiled a second time on September 11, 2015. In 2016, the event was attended by thousands of people with publicized events involving the transport of the flag to its destination, a 5K fun run, and the unfurling of its majestic colors in a breathtaking ceremony on the 4th of July. With continual support from Low VA Rates and other local businesses, Follow the Flag continues to grow and flourish. We are now a 501c3 non-profit organization with the corporation name “Follow the Flag.”
Our honorable guest this year is Gail Halvorsen, more commonly known as the beloved “Candy Bomber” during the Berlin air drops in 1948. He has kindly accepted an invitation to join our team to bring unity, peace, and love to our Nation’s citizens this year.
Kyle and I executed our vision during a time when Americans were losing hope in their great country and fearing for their future. Our purpose was to bring people together, to unite our Nation’s citizens around a common symbol of freedom, hope, and love. Our inspiration has been drawn from the weeping mothers of fallen veterans who have stood beneath the flag as it waves silently between the canyon walls. It comes from the veterans who have stood with their hands on their hearts, tears staining their faces. It comes from seeing children who are inspired and awed by the beauty and majesty of our beloved American Flag. In short, the mission of Follow the Flag is to strengthen the devotion of humanity, because we all have an undying responsibility to be courageous, to speak out, to have hope, and to inspire patriotism in others. God Bless America.