The talent behind Acuity Insurance's giant flag

CREATED Jun 30, 2014

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Caring for a flag has come a long way since Betsy Ross (legendarily) stitched together the first ever Stars and Stripes.

Today, when Acuity Insurance needs their enormous flag repaired, they turn to Rhonda Meerdink and an industrial sewing machine.
 
The flag itself is 120 feet long and 60 feet wide, which makes it rather unwieldy to repair, but wind damage makes it necessary.
 
"Sometimes we would have to cut as many as three to four feet off of it and re-sew the hem," said Meerdink.
 
The flag itself never touches the ground during the repair process, but it does get snipped and sewed along the edge that flaps in the breeze, all according to the standards set by flag code.
 
There's no instruction manual on how to best repair a flag that can cover more than a third of a football field, so Meerdink and her assistants are doing their best to make it up as they go.
 
"We're kind of writing the book on this at Acuity. We've never had to mend a flag like this before," said Meerdink.
 
Once it's been restored, the flag goes back up Acuity's 400 foot tall flag pole, installed just in time for Memorial Day this year.
 
They keep up a pretty steady rotation of giant flags, too, since repairs don't always hold all that long.
 
"We had one flag that only lasted for a day," said Meerdink.