( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Creators of the World’s Largest Flying American Flag, Follow the Flag, Honor America on the Fourth of July
ENSPIRE Contributor: Abigail Elcock
From July 4–11 2022, Follow the Flag is holding its eighth annual Flag Flight week. In this revered tradition, volunteers carry the largest American flags to ever fly up to the Grove Creek Canyon Trailhead in Pleasant Grove, Utah. On the Fourth of July, they unfurled this massive 400-pound, 154’ by 78’ flag. For the rest of the week, this massive flag, nick-named Lady Liberty, will fly high in the canyon.
Follow the Flag is a non-profit 501c3 charitable organization. It all started when co-founder Kyle Fox was laying in bed one morning. He turned to his wife and said, “I think I’m going to hang a giant flag in Grove Creek Canyon.” With the help of rigging specialist, long-time friend, and soon-to-be co-founder, Ron Nix, Kyle’s idea became a reality. A flag was purchased, a community came together, and that flag was unfurled on the morning of July 4, 2015. This small act soon created a movement that would grow beyond anything Kyle and Ron could have dreamed of.
“The simple idea turned into something much more than ‘simple,’” they said. “The feelings standing under that flag at the base of a beautiful mountain are palpable. It becomes a hallowed place.”
Alongside the annual Flag Flight week, Follow the Flag has expanded into promoting patriotism in other events throughout the year. In 2017, it made the largest American flag to ever fly, which they lovingly named Big Betsy. The patriotic nonprofit was soon taking its giant flags to parades, sporting events, schools, homecomings, funerals, military events, and more. Through the symbol of the American flag, Follow the Flag united communities in a spirit of gratitude, pride, and joy.
Follow the Flag has served not only broad communities but also individuals and families. In 2018, it held the first Healing Flight in honor of the Mayor of North Ogden City Major Brent Taylor, who was killed during his fourth deployment to Afghanistan on November 3, 2018. The flag was hung in a canyon near the city to show love and support to the grieving Taylor family and the heartbroken community. Since then, Follow the Flag has done 5 Healing Flights and other Healing Missions to provide a beacon of hope and healing to all.
Follow the Flag has also done Honor Missions. While Healing Missions provide support to the fallen and their loved ones, Honor Missions recognize the work and sacrifices of everyday Americans. During the height of COVID-19, Follow the Flag hung giant American flags on the sides of hospitals, businesses, police stations, and more to show support to essential workers. Wherever Follow the Flag goes, unity, support, and community aren’t far behind.
Follow the Flag has grown to mean so much to so many Americans across the nation. Since starting, it has done 15 canyon flights in 3 states, and this is only the beginning!
“Each one of us has the responsibility to be courageous, to speak out, to have hope, and to inspire patriotism in others. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, rich or poor, religious or not, the spirit of the American flag has a way of making us all feel connected.” — Kyle Fox, Ron Nix, and the Follow the Flag Team
Be sure to rewatch the livestream of the Eighth Annual Dawn’s Early Light Flag Ceremony on Follow the Flag’s Facebook or YouTube. If you want to get involved and stay involved year-round, be sure to visit the website for more information!