NORTH OGDEN — Preparations are underway for the unfurling of the giant flag that’ll hang at the mouth of Coldwater Canyon through Election Day and Veterans Day, visible to much of North Ogden and beyond.
The volunteers from the group organizing the effort, Follow the Flag North Ogden, have already carried out trial runs of the unfurling, and the flag, The Major, is now properly packed to facilitate its delivery and placement across the canyon on Saturday. It’s all part of planned Flag Week activities, happening for the first time this year and meant to honor Brent Taylor, killed Nov. 3, 2018, in Afghanistan, and all other military veterans.
“I think North Ogden is a special place. We have a lot of patriotic residents and a lot of volunteers,” said Kirk Chugg, a leader in Follow the Flag. Aside from honoring service members, he hopes the activities send a message to Gold Star families, survivors of service members who have died during their service, that they, too, are supported.
On hand for the activities over the weekend will be U.S. Army Specialist Jessie Brown, wounded in the attack that killed Taylor, the North Ogden mayor and a major in the Utah Army National Guard who was on a year-long deployment to Afghanistan at the time of his death. Brown said in a statement that he’s coming to “commemorate Major Taylor’s sacrifice” and in search of “personal closure.”
Tammy Taylor, Brent Taylor’s mother, welcomed Brown’s presence. “I am looking forward to being able to give Jessie a big hug. Somehow being able to hold this young man who survived the attack will heal my heart just a little,” she said in a statement.
The Flag Week events, meant to become an annual celebration, are scheduled in conjunction with the anniversary of Taylor’s death; Election Day, Nov. 5; and Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The aim is to honor military veterans, past and present. Here’s a rundown of activities, going from Saturday until Nov. 12:
The Major, the quarter-acre sized flag that’s named in Brent Taylor’s honor, will be hauled to the mouth of Coldwater Canyon starting Saturday at 7:30 a.m. from the North Ogden Trailhead for the unfurling.
A large contingent is expected to accompany its transport via foot along the trails that lead to the anchor point. It’ll remain hanging, visible across North Ogden and points further west, through Veterans Day, Nov. 11. “We want to give a big thank you to our veterans and let them know the flag flies for them,” Chugg said.
A Veterans Day Community Program is scheduled for Sunday, the one-year anniversary of Taylor’s death, from 5-6 p.m. at the Barker Park Amphitheater, 2376 Fruitland Drive in North Ogden. Jennie Taylor and Chugg are scheduled to speak.
A Field of Honor, some 300 five-feet by three-feet U.S. flags, each with a tag bearing details of military serviceman and women from the area, will be on display at Barker Park on Sunday. After the activities there that day, they will be moved to the plaza in front of North Ogden City hall, 505 E. 2600 North, and remain on display until Nov. 12.
An American Red Cross blood drive in Brent Taylor’s honor is scheduled for Nov. 8 from 2-8 p.m. at the Pleasant View South Stake Center at 3602 N. 500 West. “For the hour it takes to give blood there could be a whole community of people thankful for another birthday given to a loved one and this is how Major Brent Taylor is still helping save lives!” reads a press release on the plans.
Follow the Flag volunteers will supply The Minor, a smaller flag made at the same time as The Major, for use in the Veterans Day Parade in Layton on Nov. 9 starting at 11:11 a.m.
“Day of Service” activities are planned for Nov. 11, Veterans Day, at the North View Senior Center, 485 E. 2550 North in North Ogden, from 4:30-8 p.m.
The Major, the large flag to be hung in Coldwater Canyon, will be retrieved and removed from the canyon during the early morning hours of Nov. 12.