Santa Rosa Beach is the first community in Florida to hoist a commemorative September 11th flag.
Walton and Okaloosa law officers, first responders and dozens of residents donned rain gear to see the gigantic flag rise this morning.
For some Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday means celebrating those who have died to protect our freedom.
Martin Luther King, Junior died to ensure the rights of all men, while first responders, police, firemen, died on 9/11 to ensure our freedom.
Monday morning Okaloosa and Walton County first responders made their salute to those men and women.
Ann Haigh, the wife of a Walton County deputy orchestrated bringing this 30 by 58 foot flag to its first visit to Florida. Ann explains the flag’s meaning “…it was for 9/11. It had a huge impact on every one of us. And the flag represents every one of us today.”
A group of firefighters from California started the patriot flag’s journey on September 10th of last year. The goal is to reach all fifty states by September 11th of this year, where it will be retired. Haigh plans similar ceremonies in Panama City, Pensacola, Birmingham, and Dothan “…it takes a lot of planning and working with so many states and cities and weather problems…but it’s worth it”…especially when everyone sees the grandeur of this majestic flag rising over South Walton.
Boy scouts, former military and first responders were asked to help fold the flag together. Boy scouts present were ecstatic
Shane Heuvelink, one of the scouts admits “…me and Evan were shocked! We didn’t know it was going to happen!”
Shane and his friend Evan Cowie were overwhelmed that their first flag folding would be a September 11th flag “…it was my first real flag folding. i mean, i fold the practice one we have at scouts, but not a real one.”
Evan muses “…this embodies 9/11. Those heroes that sacrificed themselves, when they died they gave us a cry to rally around.”
The next stops for the patriot flag are Panama City and Pensacola before it travels to south Florida to continue the journey.
For more information on the Patriot Flag Program, visit the website below