Photo and story by Bob Sofaly
Hunting Island State Park flies its massive Garrison Flag on the lighthouse for Memorial Day, and a steady breeze made Old Glory dance in the wind over the weekend.
Hunting Island State Park Manager J.W. Weatherford said Sunday he had already been up to the top of the of the iconic structure because the wind gets the flag twisted.
“But it sure is a beautiful thing,” he said.
The flag is the largest U.S. flag flown on special occasions and holidays – 20 feet wide and 38 feet long.
The Department of the Army calls it the Garrison Flag, while the Department of the Navy refers to it as Holiday Colors.
The Garrison Flag was created during the War of 1812. Maj. George Armistead, the commanding officer of Fort McHenry at Baltimore Harbor, wanted “to have a flag so large the British will have no difficulty in seeing it form a distance.”
The original flag was 30 feet wide and 41 feet long. The massive flag had 15 stars and 15 stripes for each state in the Union at the time. Each stripe was two feet wide.
After the violent battle for Fort McHenry, the flag could still seen be seen as dawn broke on Sept. 14, 1814, giving Francis Scott Key the inspiration to write the Star Spangled Banner.