Supporting Follow the Flag Events in North Ogden Utah
There is an ache in the heart of the friend who hears the misfortune of his fellow. Perhaps you’ve felt it. It’s not bold to assume if you’ve ever seen pain in another’s eyes, your human instinct has been to go to them and offer what you can. There is no shame in not knowing what to offer. As long as you have a hope and a desire to lift where you can, you will find your place.
On October 30, 2020 an organization called Follow the Flag found a way to help their community recognize the suffering of one of their own. They hung an enormous American flag across Cold Water Canyon in North Ogden, Utah. One of Liberty Mountain’s own, Jake Hirschi, has been a friend and a climbing partner to the man who is running Follow the Flag’s operations in the Wasatch mountain range. Jake assisted with the rigging that suspends the flag across the mouth of the canyon and he attended the unfurling ceremony.
This flag is called “The Major” after Major Brent Taylor who served as Mayor of North Ogden and served in the Utah National Guard. He was deployed to Afghanistan for the fourth time to help train an Afghan Army commando battalion. He was killed in 2018 in an insider attack, apparently by one of the people he was there to help. For more on this story, read the NY Times article here.
The flag is massive and is suspended on a 3/8” dyneema rope. The rope was stretched across the canyon using a system of increasing lines. This process started using fishing line which was transported across the canyon using a drone. The line was then used to pull across a slightly thicker line, then a thicker line, then thicker until finally the final 3/8” dyneema was across. In Jake’s description, it took two days to get the rope across and secure it using several techniques to tension the rope.
On the day of the unfurling, Oct 30, members of the community gathered together at the trailhead leading up to the rigging to collectively carry the bundled flag and it’s color guard. The procession wound up the trail and attached the flag to the line where it could be drawn across the canyon. Finally, a leash was pulled releasing the stars and stripes to the breeze. The ceremony was emphasized with a flyover from several F-35 fighter jets from Utah’s Hill Air Force Base (located just outside of Ogden, Ut). The flag remains there through storm and calm as a reminder of not just Major Taylor, not just the many others who lost their lives, but their families and friends who are struggling with sorrow at their absence.
Loss like this leaves a hole that cannot be filled. No number of hugs or tender caring can fill it a hole like this. The only relief, although inadequate, is in finding some way to remember them. So let’s be grateful for every reminder we can find. There’s a date on the calendar set aside to remember our veterans, the aptly named Veterans day. It may seem a strange thing to have a day for those who aren’t here to enjoy it. It’s not for them though, is it? It’s a reminder, like a portrait. Some are lucky and have other tokens symbolizing remembrance from others. Medals from military and government leaders show families that their loved ones are remembered by many others. That helps with the hole too.
This veteran’s day, Liberty Mountain joins with you in remembering those we’ve all lost. We hope that this story about a flag being erected in a canyon in Utah gives you a moment to pause and fill your holes a little. We hope you find time to reach out to someone and show them you remember their loss. We encourage you to spread the story of “The Major”. It is a very large way to say to a great many people “We remember your loss” in an effort to fill the holes of many.