Jul 12 2021
Greg Jordan | Bluefield Daily Telegraph
FLAT TOP — Every day, thousands of motorists traveling along Interstate 77 see a huge American flag flying about 80 feet in the air. A fundraiser that’s now underway could make it the site of events for veterans and celebrations of patriotism.
The Freedom Flag project is currently raising money for an on-site pavilion for hosting events, according to Dayton C. Meadows III, a Marine Corps veteran.
“It’s going to a 40 (feet) and 48 (feet) pavilion,” Meadows said. “Half of it will be covered and half of it will not, and it will be climate controlled so there can be events all year long.”
The pavilion project’s estimated cost is about $98,000, but Meadows said during the Fourth of July celebration in Princeton that it could be constructed for about $50,000 thanks to help from local contributors. Volunteers providing much of the necessary labor are helping, too.
Central Concrete in Princeton is providing “a major discount” on the project’s concrete, United Rentals in Beckley is providing equipment “at no charge” and Lowe’s in Princeton has provided “better than normal discount” to help the project, Meadows said.
World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Hershel “Woody” Williams and his efforts to honor veterans and their families with Gold Star memorials – one was placed in October 2020 outside the Memorial Building in Princeton – has been an inspiration for the Freedom Flag project, Meadows said.
The current American flag off Interstate 77 is a 20 foot by 28 foot garrison flag flying 80 feet off the ground, Meadows said.
“About 600,000 cars go by the flag every month,” Meadows said. “When you average two people per vehicle, you have about a million people a month seeing it.”
People interested in contributing to the pavilion project can contact Meadows at 304-237-8316 or use firstname.lastname@example.org to email him a message.