Unarmed Forces Contribution by: Kelly Adams
This 4th of July will be a special one for the residents of North Ogden, Utah. North Ogden is a small community in Northern Utah with under 20,000 that live there. It’s also a community that loves and supports veterans.
This year their annual Cherry Days parade will be led by over 150 volunteers carrying “The Major,” an American flag the size of an Olympic swimming pool, weighing in at over 400lbs. It’s the twin to “Big Betsy,” a flag that has flown multiple times in the Grove Creek Canyon in Pleasant Grove, Utah and has warmed and healed the hearts of thousands around the country. More recently, the residents of North Ogden, Utah in November of 2018 when it flew in Coldwater Canyon on Veteran’s day and stayed over the next week.
A few years ago, the mayor of North Ogden, Mayor Brent Taylor, had street lamps installed along the main road to bring safety and an improved aesthetic to the town. Shortly after installation, portraits of currently serving military members of the community were displayed on those light poles. January of 2018 saw the Mayor’s portrait added to these poles as he set out for his fourth deployment, this time as Major Brent Taylor. He was temporarily relieved of mayoral duty so he could serve his country in Afghanistan with the Utah Army National Guard.
On November 3rd, 2018 Major Taylor was killed in an insider attack while attached to an elite team of the Armed Forces assigned to train an Afghan Commando Battalion. It was this that sparked the idea to contact the founder of Follow The Flag, and without hesitation, “Big Betsy” was set in motion to be suspended across the massive Coldwater Canyon on the east side of the city.
The day “Big Betsy” came down, the entire community rallied to raise funds to have their own flag and forward the mission and healing influence that enormous star spangled banner had on them. From this effort, enough funding was raised for the flag to be sewn, a trailer acquired to transport the flag, rigging equipment to display the flag, and a massive spotlight to illuminate the flag from below at dusk until dawn. Each time “The Major” is displayed, an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and empathy is present.
As with many things that you’ll see on the main road of North Ogden, the light poles that bring light into the darkness, the portraits of community service members that we love and miss so dearly, and countless other little things residents enjoy every day, “The Major” wouldn’t be here without Mayor/Major Brent Taylor. The wonderful thing is though, just as he would want it, it’s a representation of all who serve, have served and will serve our great nation.
Gratitude and empathy feed love and loyalty. As we celebrate the birth of this nation, let us remember to be loyal to one another and love the freedoms we enjoy.