Dozens of cameras were pointed skyward on Wednesday as the largest American flag in Georgia was slowly hoisted and unfurled above the Mohawk Industries campus on Union Grove Road.
The event marked the conclusion of an 18-month project, said Kent Thomas, project manager in the engineering department for Mohawk, and the company hosted employees, government officials and business leaders from around Northwest Georgia to take part in the celebration.
Mohawk Chairman and CEO Jeff Lorberbaum spoke to those in attendance just before members of the Spirit of Atlanta Drum Line and area Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts assisted Thomas and others as they raised the flag.
Lorberbaum noted that this time of year was appropriate for a flag raising, as Flag Day was last week, the Fourth of July is just weeks away, and Wednesday was Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in America.
“For the past decade Mohawk has sponsored the Fourth of July festivities in Calhoun. This year we’re celebrating a little earlier with the unveiling of the largest American flag in Georgia,” he said. “The flag represents our pride in being an American company and honors the thousands of men and women whose great work have helped us grow and prosper.”
At 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, the flag measures more than 3,300 square feet and weighs 143 pounds.
It’s mounted on a pole that is 128 feet tall and required special approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, said Thomas.
Mohawk actually has two flags made by Atlas Flags in Tucker, a “well flag” and a “sick flag.”
“We have LED lights to shine on it at night, so it will stay up all the time. Then every three months we will bring it down and send it off to be repaired and raise the other flag,” Thomas said.
During his speech Lorberbaum recalled Francis Scott Key, writer of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and how Key knew that if the flag survived the battle at Fort McHenry that the nation would also persevere.
“Today, we continue to face many challenges, but the flag reminds us that we have a long history of overcoming obstacles and creating a better nation. We live in a nation where anything is possible, and this flag will inspire everyone to seize those opportunities, work with pride and keep hope alive,” Lorberbaum said.
Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer was one of the many officials in attendance, and he praised Mohawk for being one of the most important employers in the community and for continuously showing a commitment to the area.
Tom Lape, Mohawk’s president of residential flooring, also spoke during the event and recognized 19 employees with multiple decades of service.
They included: Kay Young, 28 years; Billy West, 30 years; Mark Dupree, 31 years; Heriberto Morales, 31 years; Ora Cunningham, 33 years; Wanda Sheriff, 33 years; Daniel Andrews, 34 years; Jennifer Hendrix, 34 years; Darlene Farrell, 35 years; Lamar Tinch, 35 years; Donald Goforth, 35 years; Mitchell Boling, 36 years; Nadine Foster, 36 years; Lisa Butterworth, 37 years; Jesse Hammond, 38 years; Craig Springfield, 38 years; Ricky Bishop, 40 years; Leslie (Buddy) Padgett, 45 years; and Ronald Locklear, 46 years.