On Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m. at the Le Mars (IA) Convention Center, the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department, American Legion Post 341, City of Le Mars, and 113th Calvary will be displaying a large United States flag that has been deemed the �Patriot Flag.� This flag measures 30×58 and is hopefully going to be in 50 states in 50 weeks. A Legionnaire and a San Diego firefighter are working together to fly this massive flag ahead of the flag�s unfurling in Manhattan, Washington, and Shanksville, PA on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
This tour is the brainchild of Mitch Mendler, a San Diego firefighter/paramedic, and Wayne Louth of American Legion Post 149. Mendler realized transporting the flag from state to state would be costly, so he contacted FedEx. FedEx agreed to ship the flag free of charge between stops. The Patriot Flag sends two simple messages �We still stand united, and we will never forget.�
The flag will be hoisted between two aerial ladder fire trucks, one from Le Mars and the other from Sioux Center. There will be a short program on the upper level of the Convention Center around 2:45 p.m. on Feb. 5. The flag will then be taken down and transported by two retired Le Mars firefighters and current Legion members to Coralville/Iowa City so that it can be displayed at the Iowa Firefighters Memorial on Interstate 80 at Coralville.
There were 17 firefighters from northwest Iowa that flew to New York for the funeral ceremony for the 343 firefighters after 9/11. It will be a special moment for these men to be a part of this flag ceremony as it makes its way to New York.
The city of Le Mars is very fortunate to have this flag come through Le Mars. Le Mars is known for having a great Fire-Rescue Department, active American Legion, and our 113th is now in Afghanistan defending our Country. For all of these reasons, this flag is coming to Le Mars, which will give all of the citizens a chance to show their support for all who stand ready and are currently defending our country.
All surrounding firefighters and citizens are invited to attend the ceremony or just drive by the Le Mars Convention Center on 12th St. S.E. in Le Mars on Feb. 5 to see the �Patriot Flag.�
Any questions can be directed to the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department at 712-546-4023.