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The Flagpole Quest

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by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

For 48 of my 56 years I had hoped someday to have a tall flagpole in my front yard. My wife, Christy and I moved half-way around the world to the Republic of the Philippines and in less than 48 days I had my flagpole.

Now, each morning I can have a cup of coffee and look out the window to see the flag flying in the breeze from the tall flagpole.

I_PVC PIPE IS SET INSIDE THE FORM FOR CONCRETE_6683_resized

An orange PVC pipe is set inside a rebar framework within a plywood form for the concrete before the 20-foot pole is lowered into the PVC pipe.

Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Since I was eight years old, I always wanted a tall flagpole in the front yard. In my mind. I could see the large flag flapping in the breeze.

My dad, Samuel E. Warren, had served in the United States Army, during World War II. To me the American flag waving in the breeze from a flagpole has always symbolized, pride, patriotism, honor and devotion to duty.

Once I went on active duty in the United States Air Force, I really wanted that tall flagpole in the front yard.

But, the Real Wold intervened and the daily concerns of earning a living and putting food on the table pushed my flagpole idea into a storage room of my mind.

Home on leave and after I retired, I would get those six-foot flagpole kits and try various locations to try and give the flagpole a center stage presence, during patriotic holidays like the Fourth of July, Flag Day and Veterans’ Day. It always seemed I ended up with a flag kit that had a flag that had to be displayed at an angle.

I always kept my eye open for the tall flagpole.

 

I attended Veteran’s Day observances in Branson, Missouri and found tall flagpoles for sale that seemed to match up with my dream of the “Ideal Flagpole.”

The salesman even assured me that the different heights had survived recent hurricanes at different locations in the United States. But, the price tag for the flagpole was in the neighborhood of $300.

Since my wife, Christy, and I had decided to move to the Philippines, I decided it wouldn’t be wise to spend the money on a flagpole that I might not even get to use before we left the country..

We arrived in the Philippines before Christmas Day 2011. Christy’s family and friends came to visit us. As December passed into January and the New Year began, of course, we began those little home improvement touch ups to make the house feel like a home.

Our new yard had coconut trees and banana palms, instead of, rose bushes and sycamore trees. As I looked around I thought, “I think a flagpole would look good in the yard.” I mentioned the idea to Ramon about January 15, 2012. A few days later, Ramon and I went to the Leyte Sports Emporium and bought three flags.

Ramon mentioned that the local flagpoles like they were constructed of 20 foot pipe, two inches thick.

I knew from having shot photographs of flags that there had to be a way to raise and lower the flag, but I couldn’t remember how that part of the flagpole was constructed. I sketched out a rough idea on paper that involved a pulley device up near the top, but I couldn’t be sure.

In our quest to learn about flagpoles, we sought out the type of rope to use. In the States, I thought the line was a white type of rope. In Leyte, we visited different hardware stores, but could only find colored nylon lines in orange, green and blue. I had noticed that some of the local government flagpoles had the blue nylon line.

Since neither Ramon or I had ever built a flagpole we had questions, but not many answers. One evening when Peter, Ramon, Marife, Christy and I were passing through Tanauan, I saw the sign : PULIS.

A1A_Across the bridge the Police sign is obvius to  pedestrians and motorists_8034_resized

Across the bridge from the Tanauan Public Market, the PULIS sign is visible to motorists and pedestrians.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

As a child, in the United States, my father and mother had friends in the Houston Police Department in Texas, so I grew up respecting and trusting police officers. I saw the flagpole in front of the police station, so I suggested to Ramon we visit the police station.  A1 TANAUAN POLICE STATION_8035_resized

A glance at the police station, during a late Sunday afternoon drive shows the flagpole in front of the station..  But to see the specifics, you need to be closer to look at the flagpole.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

We explained to the police officers that we were trying to build a flagpole but were not certain of how to arrange things to be able to raise and lower the flag. They smiled and were very helpful at explaining how their flagpole was set up.

Ramon rented an arc welder and a welding helmet and set to work welding the pulley to one end of the flagpole,  PULLEY WELDED AT THE TOP OF THE FLAGPOLE_7963_resizedThen, Professionals who build flagpoles for a living probably have the designs that work best for them.  In our flagpole, the pulley is welded to a rebar rod that is welded to the side of the 20-foot pole at the top.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

AI_BLUE NYLON ROPE IS JUST TO RAISE AND LOWER THE COLORS_7965_resized

The blue nylon line passed through the pulley allows you to easily raise and lower the flag.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

REBAR LOOPWELDED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE FLAGPOLE_7964_resized

The curved rebar rod welded to the flagpole is in a shape that reminds you of an angel’s harp or a pork chop.  But, welded near the bottom of this flagpole the design provides plenty of room to use the rope to tie down the lines.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

Ramon finished the flagpole by welding a piece of rebar near the bottom to tie the flag lines to. By January 31, the flagpole had already been set in concrete.

My childhood dream had come true.

I had a flagpole in the front yard. When we first began talking about the idea, my nephews and nieces gave me a puzzled look. While there are numerous flagpoles in the yards of families in the United States; the idea really hasn’t taken off, yet, in the Philippines.

We got the flags and the nylon lines, then, the nephews and nieces seemed more excited about the idea. Thanks to all those protocol sergeants and officers I worked with over the years, I explained to the nieces and nephews that there were proper ways to display a flag and suggested they should go online to research flag protocol.

Once the flagpole was set up among the banana palms, guava and coconut trees even the kids smiled. Of course, there was only one thing left to do: “Raise The Flag.”

RAISE THE COLORS_8424_resized

“Ten-hut !”  I got my tall flagpole in the front yard.  And my nieces and nephews got a flagpole to proudly display their nation’s colors.  Because the lessons of patriotism that I learned from my father and the military is a citizen should always be proud of who he or she is and be grateful to the nation that he or she grows up in.  Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
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Written by samwarren55

February 28, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

8 Responses

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      Someday I hope to be able to do a 10 percent gray screen on a sidebar article beside the main story or be able to use spot color to highlight text or a photo. For now though, i hope the words I write, the photos I shoot and the layout I use remains interesting enough to keep people reading.

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