Flag Damaged In Little Willow Canyon

Jul 16, 2019, 3:40 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

SANDY, Utah – Neighbors in Sandy are heartbroken today that a rallying banner for their community has been either torn down, or blown down.  Each July, Harold Haugen and 10 to 20 friends raise the American flag over the mouth of Little Willow Canyon, and leave it up through Pioneer Day.  When people awoke late last week, Old Glory was gone.

Each of the last six years, the massive American flag has dominated the view at the mouth of Little Willow Canyon from Independence Day to Pioneer Day.  But, since the flag came down late last week, many neighbors have wondered where did it go, and will it be back?

“People drive up here, about five a day, saying where is the flag? Where is the flag?” said Valerie Walker, who lives in the nieghborhood.

That’s the way people feel in this part of Sandy about their view of Old Glory.

“Every morning it gives us inspiration, and hope, and gratitude,” she said.

After vandals shot holes in the original flag, Colonial Flag matched neighborhood contributions to unveil a 60′ x 30′ flag four years ago.

“We have had some acts of vandalism,” said Haugen. “So, when it came down the other day, that was my worst fear.”

Haugen said he can hang the flag in two to three hours with 10 to 20 friends.  He got the inspiration for the idea seven or eight years ago while on a trip to Europe.  He noticed national flags hanging in several mountain countries, and thought an American flag would be a nice touch at home.

A week ago, he went up to tighten a rope.

Then Thursday morning, he knew something was wrong.

“I went out on the back deck, and, no flag,” said Haugen.  His first thought was that vandals had ripped it down.  He got in his car an headed for a better look.

“Came up here, and I could see it laying on the hillside,” he said.

The flag was crumpled in the rocks and bushes below the mouth of the canyon.  He gathered it up, and hiked up for a closer look.  The tree and the stakes he had buried in the rock to anchor the flag were gone.

“The rock was all broken apart, and the mahogany tree was gone,” said Haugen. “Pulled out by its roots. I thought somebody had gone up there and just did a lot of work that night.”

At first he thought it was the work of vandals.  But now, after inspecting the flag and other evidence, he thinks differently.

“I’m quite sure it was probably the wind,” he said.

But, there’s repair work to be done.  He needs to get the flag patched, and he needs to sink new stakes to anchor the flag.

“It’s so rocky, you can’t dig very deep,” said Haugen.

So, the flag will not go back up before Pioneer Day.  Haugen is somewhat relieved, though, that his flag had not been targeted by vandals.

“It stirs deep feelings of love of country,” he said, choking up a bit.  “I’m hoping that when people see it, it helps them realize their love of this country.”
Haugen hangs a star there for Christmas.  We can look for the flag again next July before Independence Day.

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Flag Damaged In Little Willow Canyon