Junction woman wants emblem replaced on Mount Garfield

THE TATTERED REMAINS of the U.S. flag have been removed from the top of Mount Garfield by a representative of the Bureau of Land Management. There are no plans to regularly replace it.

Joan Raser of Grand Junction flies her flag night and day at her Northridge home, something she can do because she has it lighted with a spotlight in her lawn at night. Raser is determined to have the wind-tattered flag on top of Mt. Garfield replaced.

Grand Junction resident Joan Raser reveres the American flag. So she was appalled when she saw a photo published recently in this newspaper of the wind-whipped remains of the Stars and Stripes atop Mount Garfield.

“When I saw the flag, it really shocked me about its condition,” she said.

A flagpole on top of Mount Garfield sports an American flag with only its stars remaining, the stripes ripped off by high winds that blast over the more than 6,000-foot-high rocky top in the Bookcliff range.

Instead of waiting for someone else to do something about it, Raser put in her two cents. She contacted the Bureau of Land Management and offered to replace the flag if someone would hike it up and place it there.

A BLM representative retrieved the tattered flag so Raser could dispose of it properly.

Raser is keen about properly displaying a flag at her home, where she’s flown one for the past 30 years. She keeps a solar light trained on the flag so it’s lighted at night.

Raser’s late husband, Victor, fought in the Korean War. Raser herself is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. But her insistence on seeing a flag flown correctly doesn’t expressly hinge on either of those two factors.

She’s simply inspired by the sight of the Stars and Stripes.

“It’s the most beautiful flag in the world, don’t you think?” she said, looking at her flag flutter in the breeze. “Our flag is really important. It represents our country. When the wind blows, it just feels like it’s alive.”

Raser said she will take the tattered flag to a Memorial Day ceremony, in which retired flags are burned and the ashes are then buried.

Spokeswoman Erin Curtis of the BLM said the agency doesn’t have plans to regularly replace the flag on Mount Garfield, but it wouldn’t get in the way of anyone else or another group’s effort to do so.

The pole has been atop the local landmark for at least 40 or 50 years and was upgraded to a taller, sturdier pole some years ago.

It’s unclear who placed the pole there and whether any group regularly maintains the flag, but rumors among BLM staff are that effort was prompted by a local Boy Scout troop or members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Curtis said.

“It’s been up there for a good long time,” she said.

Curtis said people occasionally place flags or historical markers on BLM land, but the agency does not keep records on those places.

To create a marker on BLM land now would first require a permit.


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