SANDY — If you drive past Little Willow Canyon in Sandy, you’ll probably see a giant flag suspended between the ridges. While many appreciate this display of patriotism, not many know why, or how, the flag is hung.
Harold Haugen and his family are on their second year of this flag- hanging tradition, and they say that while it isn’t an easy thing to do, it’s worth the effort to get the community excited about America.
“We had to hike each end of the string to about 550 feet. It was all climbing and clearing trees and cliff ledges,” said JJ Peterson, a son- in-law of Haugen.
While traveling through Europe, Haugen noticed several cities displayed flags in their villages, and he thought it would be a nice tradition to start in his own community. Haugen said the reaction has been nothing but positive.
“This is the second year doing this — as you can imagine, it generates a lot of buzz and attention, not to mention stirring up quite a bit of patriotism in the neighborhood,” said Haugen.
To hang the flag, the Haugens first flew fishing line across the canyon with a Phantom remote-controlled drone. They then connected that string to a thicker nylon rope and pulled that rope across the entire canyon. Finally, they pulled high-strength plasma rope across the entire canyon. The plasma rope is attached to 35 feet of steel cable and anchored into steel rods in granite.
The flag was given to Haugen by a retired army colonel and is 25 feet by 40 feet. The Haugens hung the flag this year on Flag Day and said it will stay up through Pioneer Day. The Haugen family is also responsible for a giant star that pops up in the canyon around Christmastime.
“It's really something to behold,” said Haugen of the flag itself and of the experience of bringing his family together to celebrate America.
The flag can be seen from the south end of Wasatch Boulevard.
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Contact Maddy Richards on Twitter: @MRoseRichards or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.