GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Shortly after the sun came up Friday, the volunteers came out in Grand Haven.
Members of the local Rotary Club placed 150 American flags along Beacon Boulevard and Washington Avenue.
They’ve done it for other U.S. holidays.
“Last year, after Patriot Day, a few people approached me and said, ‘Well, why don’t you guys do September 11th?’ I didn’t have a good answer. It’s like, we ought to,” said City Manager Pat McGinnis, who also serves as the Rotary Club’s flag chair. “Many, many years from now, it will be just as important as Veterans Day or Labor Day or Memorial Day or the rest of those days.”
Grand Haven’s efforts were one way communities throughout West Michigan remembered the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In Dorr, the large American flag near 142nd Avenue and 26th Street put up by the Boy Scouts with help from community members last month was lowered to half-staff. In Grand Rapids, the pandemic forced a change to the traditional day-long Boy Scout salute at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, making it a virtual ceremony.
From big city to small community, the symbol of the flag reminded many to reflect on the lives lost and the lessons learned on that terrible day and served as a reminder for the future.
“I think this is how we do it in America,” McGinnis said. “We double down, we continue to revive that passion. Those that would reach out and strike against us ought to know that they’re just going to double, triple, quadruple our resolve for generations.”
McGinnis also believes the flags brought communities together despite all of the things that currently divide us.
“At least judging by the traffic today and the horns tooting away and the people pumping their fists out the window, (it’s) a very unifying feeling that I had in spite of all the un-unifying things we do hear about in the media, to know we’re all together on this really makes you feel good,” he said.