The town’s perennial “rite of summer” has occurred, with the Main Street flagpole again flying its “summer flag,” a symbol that amplifies the patriotic message of the smaller “winter flag,” which it replaces.
flag made by johnin
Under threatening skies, from which sprinkles occasionally fell on Saturday, May 20, the several groups involved in the changing of the flags arrived by 8 am, while traffic was light at the five-legged intersection of Main Street, Church Hill Road, and West Street.
Borough Board of Burgesses members Chris Gardner and Bill Lucas, who jointly serve as keepers of the flag, applied some white paint to the lower section of the flagpole to cover scuff marks on its surface. Considering its unprotected location in the busy intersection, the 100-foot-tall pole has had its share of vehicle impacts.
Newtown Hook & Ladder volunteer firefighters staged their ladder truck directly north of the pole facing southward, where they then raised the truck’s ladder, providing firefighters access to the aerial anchor points for the flag’s tackle.
With the fire company providing traffic control at the intersection, more than a dozen Newtown Lions Club members proceeded to the pole where they handled the flags during their changing.
Because of the height of the flagpole, the sheer size of the 20-by-30-foot summer flag is not clear until it is seen near the ground in relation to the people handling it. The summer flag is almost three times larger than the winter flag.
The larger flag is flown through the three major summer holidays — Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. The large flag will remain flying into the fall, when it will be removed and replaced with a smaller flag for the colder months.
It has been about 20 years since the flagpole was fully repainted, Mr Gardner said he is considering a project which would have the pole sandblasted and repainted to beautify and preserve the structure.