As we approach Flag Day, those residents who have been in Evanston for many years will remember that it is the traditional day for the 4th of July Association volunteers to man the ladders and trucks and work their way down Central Street from Bent Park east to Ryan Field (formerly Dyche Stadium).
Placing ladders up against the light poles, the volunteers climbed up and installed 200+ flags in brackets. During the next three weeks, a few volunteers would travel down the length of Central Street making sure the flags were free to fly and not wrapped around the lights. The weekend after the 4th of July parade, that same group of volunteers returned to Central Street and worked their way down the street, climbing the ladders to remove the flags.
Last year something happened to change all of that. As the flag crew was beginning to install the flags at one of the corners, when the ladder was positioned against the lamp post and one of the volunteers was on the ladder about to install a flag, the light pole fell over into the street, sending our volunteer into a fall from the ladder onto the sidewalk.
The incident shocked the flag crew; fortunately, no one was seriously hurt, and the pole fell onto an empty street. The pole broke off at the base from age and years of road salt, and observations of other light poles on the street showed we were fortunate this hadn’t happened before.
After the City of Evanston crew cleaned up the damaged pole, we had a discussion about the incident and agreed we were all fortunate that this didn’t occur during the parade day celebrations.
The City was also concerned about the possibility someone could be seriously injured.
The result of all of this will be a big change for the 4th of July decorations this year. The 4th of July Association will not be installing flags on any light poles along the parade route now or in the future. We have purchased banners in a likeness of the American flag, and the City has offered to install them for us.
We hope Evanston residents will appreciate that we are doing this to avoid any future injuries to our volunteers. Enjoy the 4th of July and all the activities the 4th of July Association has put together, and remember that the entire day is made possible by our volunteers and donations from residents. There is no financial support provided by the City of Evanston.
Happy 4th of July.
Mr. Peach is a trustee of the Evanston 4th of July Association. He has been chosen to serve as Grand Marshall in this year’s Fourth of July parade.