The giant flag that now flies over George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township will be dedicated today, Flag Day. The flag is 30 feet by 60 feet and weighs 54 pounds. The flagpole is more than 150 feet tall. The 13-acre complex is on Telegraph near Interstate 96. (Photos by Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
To Richard Grant, there’s nothing quite like the American flag.
But the soaring flagpole at George Matick Chevrolet in Redford Township, which can be seen from miles away, has a special place in the heart of Grant, a former Marine who fought in Iraq and now works in the parts department of the dealership.
Billed by its makers as one of the highest in the state at more than 150 feet, the flagpole will be officially dedicated Saturday — Flag Day — at the sprawling dealership on Telegraph near Interstate 96.
“Anytime I see the flag waving, especially at this capacity, what’s not to be proud?” Grant said. “It especially means more when it’s put up at the place of my employment. It makes it proud to be an American. It’s one of the kind. It’s definitely an eye and a head turner. Once the wind kicks and you see it flying full size and everything, it definitely packs the wow factor.”
The 10:30 a.m. event will feature a color guard presentation from the Redford Police Department, a salute to Flag Day and veterans, and a flagpole dedication. Organizers say it will take about seven minutes to crank the flag from its base to the top.
Karl Zimmermann, the owner of the dealership, said the flag went up in January after it was constructed in November but it made sense to hold the official dedication on Flag Day, which fell on a Saturday.
Zimmermann said he and original owner George Matick, who died in February, always had a love for country, the military and the flag and wanted to find a way to honor that.
“We felt very strongly about the flag, our country and the founding principles it represents,” Zimmermann said, adding of the late owner who sold him the business in 2008, “He was very pleased and very proud we were going to do it.”
Zimmermann said that flag has brought out “a whole range of emotions but nothing but positive” from the people who have seen it and called the dealership. “It’s an appropriate scale for the size of our campus. It’s kind of inspiring and a lot of people have taken to it,” he said.
Charles Bowers, whose company Rocket Enterprises in Warren constructed the pole, said that it cost $68,000 to construct the flag pole and install. It weighs 18,000 pounds, is placed 17 feet deep into the ground with the steel casing for the pole constructed in pieces in Texas. It took a 90-ton crane to put the pole into the ground, he said.
“There are a couple of 140-footers out there but I don’t know of another 150-footer and I’ve been in the business for 30 years,” said Bowers, who also makes flagpoles for Belle Tire stores in Michigan. “They requested a 150-foot flagpole. I had never put a pole in that big before.”
Bowers said when the dealership first called and told him how big it wanted the pole to be, his response was, “Why?” But once he saw the 13-acre complex, it made sense.