Vail 50th anniversary banner flying |

Vail 50th anniversary banner flying

NWS Flag Change 1 DT 9-18-12

VAIL, Colorado – Vail’s party flag is flying.

The banner for Vail’s 50th anniversary celebration went up Tuesday morning as the town prepares to host Pioneer Weekend beginning later this week, then more events through the ski season.

This particular 50th anniversary banner hangs on the south side of the Vail Information Center.

Signature Signs of Eagle created the banner and all the decals hung on the Information Center’s windows Tuesday.

It’s not new for Tom Rollins and the Signature Signs crew. They create the banners for the ski races in Vail and Beaver Creek, various local and regional events, and even this year’s elections.

“This year more than ever candidates are using local businesses to create their campaign materials,” Rollins said.

Banners are usually temporary. The Vail 50th anniversary banner that went up Tuesday will stay up until July 5.

If it needs to be replaced, Signature Signs is right down the road, Rollins said.

A place of pride

The banner temporarily replaces an American flag hung just after the worst terrorists attacks on American soil, Sept. 11, 2001.

That flag is already part of the Vail history display in the Colorado Ski Museum.

Vail is 50 years old and an American flag has hung on that spot for 11 years, more than 20 percent of the town’s history.

“It’s a symbol of American pride and we’re proud to be putting it on display in the Colorado Ski Museum,” said Susie Tjossem, ski museum director.

A replacement flag will likely go back up on the Vail Information Center after July 5.

Charlie Turnbull and Larry Pardee hung the original American flag in 2001, just after 9/11. The flag faces south and gets changed about twice a year, as the colors fade in the bright Colorado sunshine.

Turnbull has been working with the town for 35 of Vail’s 50 years. He has been raising and lowering flags for most of that time, so he knows about flag etiquette.

Flags that go up are supposed to come down at night unless they’re lit.

When they hung that flag, they also hung American flags on all the light poles in Vail’s main roundabout. The flags he and Pardee hung around Vail all had black ribbons on them, a symbol of mourning the same as flying flags at half mast.

If the American flags in the roundabout were lowered to half mast, all the country flags would have to be lowered as well. No flag flies higher than the American flag on U.S. soil.

The flag on Vail’s Information Center represented the same mindset locals displayed when eco-terrorists burned down Two Elk on Vail Mountain, and following the 9/11 attacks. Vail and the United States are bloodied but unbowed.

“We thought it was a good way to display pride in our country and our community,” Turnbull said.

The banner is huge and can be seen from almost everywhere in Vail Village. That was the idea, Turnbull said.

Just after 9/11, people were skittish about traveling and Vail is a destination resort.

“We were all scared that the economy and the travel industry would keep going off a cliff,” Tjossem said. “Everyone was hunkered down. The flag represented sense of pride and reassurance. It was a reminder to the world that we were still here.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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