A father and his teenage kids hiked for over three hours to retrieve an enormous American flag that had flown from a suspension rope across a rocky canyon in Utah but had fallen.
The massive 50-pound (approx. 23-kilogram) flag had been part of an annual Independence Day ceremony in the family’s hometown of Sandy in northern Utah.
Father of two, Darren Nord helped erect the flag in the canyon with several of his neighbors. He was also the first person to notice that it had gone missing from where it flew, LDS Living reported.
On July 11, a search team comprising Darren, his kids Lexie and Wil, and three neighbors set out to hunt for the fallen flag. It was 18-year-old Lexie who spotted ol’ glory draped on the side of Utah’s Little Willow Canyon. Her brother Wil, 14, eagerly volunteered to help retrieve it.
“It was really rocky. You kinda had to make your own path all the way up there,” Wil told Fox & Friends. “I wasn’t really scared,” he added. “I wasn’t thinking about the consequences.”
With their eyes on the prize, the search team forged ahead toward the 30-by-60-foot flag. “We didn’t know what we would encounter,” Darren told KSL TV. “If there were actually active vandals still in the canyon, that we might run into them, that was really scary.”
Upon reaching the flag, the Nords discovered to their dismay that their backpack was too small to contain it. Darren paused and said a silent prayer. “I said, ‘Heavenly Father, we need your help,’” he recounted.
Lexie followed Darren’s prayer with a bright idea; the group could use their belts to wrap and secure the flag in order to carry it home. It worked. The triumphant trio and their neighbors carried the flag for over three hours under the scorching Utah sun and made it safely back to Sandy.
“[Lexie] and Wil were just die-hards,” Darren reflected. “I mean, it was hot … We took some water with us when we went up, but we were all out of water by that time.”
The tight-knit Sandy community started the tradition of flying their massive American flag on the Fourth of July after local representative Herald Haugan caught wind of a similar practice going on in Europe. Unfortunately, Sandy’s flag has been vandalized three times.
On this occasion, it was the 500-foot rope suspending the 50-pound flag that snapped. “Of all years for it to come down, this year I believe was special to be able to fly it,” Haugan reflected. “I’m just sad we couldn’t have kept it up longer.”
The flag can’t be reinstated at Little Willow Canyon immediately; a replacement rope must be specially ordered. Darren has started a GoFundMe account to raise money for an expedient repair.
“The flag has been repaired so many times and equipment needs to be replaced,” Darren explained, adding that his community would also like to install security equipment in the canyon to help identify vandals.
“All these proceeds will be given to Harold to order the supplies and even a new flag,” Darren continued, adding, “We need to retire the one that has taken on so much stress.”
To date, the fund has raised just over $7,000 of a $20,000 goal.
For 14-year-old Wil, who was so instrumental in ol’ glory’s recovery, erecting the Sandy flag holds personal significance. “It represents all of me,” Will explained, speaking to KSL TV. “I’m a proud American.”
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at email@example.com