San Ramon Valley veterans took special care in choosing the American flag that would fly above the newly reopened Veterans Memorial Building. Various groups decided to honor those who have served by requesting that the Vets Building flag take an honorable journey around the country.
"It was a very conscious decision taking it to the sites where a lot of our military heroes fought and died for our freedom," said retired Rear Admiral Mary P. O'Donnell (U.S. Coast Guard).
The Veterans Building has two flags -- a pure cotton woven 6-foot by 10-foot flag and a 3-foot by 5-foot polyester flag -- that were flown over various historical sites before arriving at their final resting place in Danville. Although it is customary to request an American Flag be flown over the U.S. Capitol Building, Danville veterans asked their congressmen for something extra.
"We sort of asked that it would be forwarded on to those locations, and we told them why we were making that request, and they were very gracious to reply," said Del Loewe, past president of Viet Nam Veterans of the Diablo Valley and a member of the board of directors for the Vets Building development committee.
The flag was raised over the Capitol Building on Dec. 1, 2011; at Arlington National Cemetery on Dec. 15, 2011; the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Oahu, Hawaii on Jan. 23; the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor Jan. 24; at the Pentagon on March 7; and at the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial to Iwo Jima in Arlington, Va., on March 24. The flag was then raised at the rededication of the building in Danville on April 28.
"Those who were there for the ceremony were able to see the cotton flag and we flew it for the entire weekend. To hear the itinerary of the route that this flag has been on, we're all very impressed," Loewe said. "We had a lot of comments about that. Also the grandeur of the 6 by 10-foot flag is impressive, I think people will take note."
The larger cotton flag will only be flown on holidays such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, due to its delicate condition. The polyester flag will be flown regularly and replace the cotton flag, which will be put in a special glass box and displayed.
The flag pole on the corner of Hartz and Prospect avenues will eventually hold the American flag, a California state flag and a flag for those servicemen missing in action or taken as a prisoner of war.