‘Fly The Flag Day' Sept. 11

Refurbished flagpole a call to renew patriotism

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While often unnoticed, the concrete base of a long-standing landmark bears a simple, round metal marker signifying its place in Payson history.

The 80-foot flagpole on the corner of Highway 87 and West Phoenix Street was rededicated Monday during a ceremony to mark the completion of a much-needed refurbishing project.

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A 3-inch metal marker bears the elevation and business site of the flagpole, dated 1964.

The pole was painted with the help of Payson firefighters using the town's 102-foot-reach ladder truck, dubbed "Lord of the Rungs."

But local veterans groups and town officials hope the fresh paint and new 15-by-25-foot flag rekindles a desire in others to fly the nation's colors more proudly, especially next Monday, the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"Countless eyes have passed this spot since the flag was first erected at the Blakely gas station in 1964," said retired U.S. Marine Corps Col. Bill Sahno. "It has faithfully welcomed travelers to our community for more than 40 years, and then waved at them as they departed.

"Today's event not only observes our Labor Day holiday and marks the facelift of this landmark flagpole, it also symbolizes, underscores and endorses a grass-roots campaign to fly our flags on the 11th of September."

Sahno, chairman of the Payson Patriotic Events Committee, said that Americans need to remind themselves of the emotions that galvanized the nation five years ago.

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Payson Civil Air Patrol cadets Ricky Dabney, Dane Silva, Jesse Snively, and Matthew Snively present a salute during the rededication ceremony of the 1964 flagpole on south Highway 87 Monday.

"During these trying times when our young men and women are involved in deadly conflict, we must stand fast and hold to the patriotic fervor we felt on that tragic day five years ago -- the same way we did many years ago on Dec. 7, 1941 when our nation suffered the first day of infamy. And, as we did then, we must continue to hold fast until we reach the ultimate victory -- so help us God."

The goal of the nationwide "Fly the Flag" campaign is to see a U.S. flag flown in front of every home and business possible to honor the lives of those who died, and to show support to the families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain.

Sahno hopes the flags will also be a sign of support for those who are fighting to preserve our freedoms.

As four members of the Payson Civil Air Patrol stood at attention in crisp uniforms by the base of the flagpole, Payson Councilman Ed Blair delivered a message of hope and faith.

Blair recited the seldom-sung fourth verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner, the U.S. national anthem.

The verse carries the words, "Then conquer we must, for our cause is just. And this be our motto -- In God is our trust."

"The fourth and last verse shows how God has been an integral part of our nation's thinking," Blair said.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" fourth verse

Oh thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand

Between their loved homes and the war's desolation,

Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven -- rescued land

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.

Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,

And this be our motto--"In God is our trust."

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

Over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

-- Fourth verse of the the U.S. national anthem first composed by Francis Scott Key in 1814.

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