UNION COUNTY — An American flag painted on a hill along U.S. 176 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks got a fresh coat of paint Wednesday morning courtesy of American Legion Post 22.
On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger airliners and crashed two of them into the north and south towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. A third airliner was crashed into the Pentagon while the fourth, which was headed toward Washington, D.C., crashed into a field near Shankville, Penn. when the passengers unsuccessfully tried to overpower the hijackers.
Shortly after the attacks, an American flag was painted on a hill along U.S. 176 with the words “September 11, 2001 We Will Not Forget” at its base.
In the 12 years since, the flag has been maintained by a number of local organizations and groups which recently grew to include American Legion Post 22.
Several members of the post spent the morning using cans of spray paint provided by the S.C. Department of Transportation to touch up the red and white stripes, the field of blue and the stars it contains, and the message at the flag’s base.
Jason Childers, SCDOT Resident Foreman for Union County, said that the SCDOT has helped maintain the flag, providing herbicide and cutting the grass. Childers said that recent heavy rains and the large number of damaged roads resulting from the weather has prevented the SCDOT from continuing this maintenance in recent months. He said when the post heard about this they stepped in to help.
“They’ve provided most of the manpower and work that has been done,” Childers said. “We’re at the point where they’ve done all the work and we’ve provided the paint, cones, and vests for them to be able to work on the side of the road.”
Post Commander Tommy Sinclair said that the post’s involvement began after he was informed about the condition of the flag. Sinclair said he informed his fellow veterans of this and they were soon working to clean up the grounds and touch up the flag’s colors. He said the post’s involvement with the flag is not only characteristic of its commitment to serve Union County, but also of the people of Union County’s commitment to their community.
“We started pulling it together and here it is,” Sinclair said Wednesday as post members sprayed fresh paint on the flag. “We wanted to have it done before September 11 of this year. Like most things in Union if you put the need out folks will come together to take care of it.”
Sinclair said that post members were also assisted in their efforts by members of local fire departments and law enforcement.
As post members were completing their task, Sinclair said a woman who drives by the flag every day stopped. He said she got out and made a donation to the post to assist in the upkpeep of the site. Sinclair said the post will use the funds for future work on the flag.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.