Sept. 11 dedication flag fighting off wind, ice

The Sept. 11 flag has faced wind damage due to wind and ice. Two flags are rotated every two months.

Bill Shepherd

The Sept. 11 flag has faced wind damage due to wind and ice. Two flags are rotated every two months.

Whipped by winds 100 feet above the ground, the stars and stripes atop Southern’s Sept. 11 memorial didn’t last forever.

Missouri Southern has two flags for the memorial that are rotated every two months to keep up with wear and tear, said Bob Harrington, director of the physical plant.

The flags, which measure 20 feet by 38 feet when new, become tattered in the winds and require regular repair. Harrington said the flags are repaired by cutting the damaged area off and hemming the edge of the flag.

The wind, however, is not the flags’ only foe. Harrington said the initial damage to the first flag occurred during an ice storm in November 2002.

“It started ripping at about 9 p.m. that night,” Harrington said. “It had a 6-to-7 foot rip. The wind and the ice crystals had cut the fabric.”

Harrington said the flag was returned to the manufacturer in Beaumont, Texas, for repair, which was completed at a cost of $75.

The second flag, which replaced the first, had to be removed during another winter storm over the holiday break, Harrington said.

He said the second flag had minor damage and was repaired by a Joplin business, Coglizer Tent and Awning. The cost was $30.

“They’re designed to be out there in all weather conditions, other than the ice,” Harrington said.

Jim Wallace, director of public works in Webb City, said its memorial flags are repaired by Coglizer as well.

The city maintains a 9-11 memorial with a flag and pole identical to those at Southern.

The memorial is located near the Praying Hands at King Jack Park in Webb City.

Wallace said the city maintains the memorial flags on a six-month rotation, but the flag’s condition is checked daily.

“If there’s ice, we’ll take it down,” Wallace said.

Harrington said Southern’s flags will eventually have to be replaced as they are gradually reduced in size by the repair process.

“We expect we’ll have to buy, if not one, at least two flags a year,” Harrington said.

He said the flags cost $850 each.