Best Of

Best Patriotic Sign

Best Patriotic Sign

The Metropolitan Mortgage Building

Patriotism has been running thick since the Sept. 11 attacks. Patriotic signs have become mainstays on local billboards and reader-boards, and the American flag can be seen flapping off the sides of many cars and buildings. When asked in our poll for their favorite patriotic sign, our readers' answer, overwhelmingly, was the flag — specifically the giant flag towering over Spokane on the side of the Metropolitan Mortgage building.

"Shortly after 9-11, a citizen called the company anonymously and said that we should consider hanging an American flag off the side of the building," says Erik Skaggs, vice president of production and marketing at Metropolitan Mortgage. "Myself, Earl Parks and Don Mitchell came up with a proposal and approached [company president] Paul Sandifur. He approved it, and then Don found a vendor to custom-make a flag that big."

The giant flags on the sides of Metropolitan are 36 by 60 feet. It took more than a little bit of trial and error to keep them in place.

"The first time, we just grommeted the sides and hoisted it over," says Skaggs. "Then it disappeared. We were afraid that it would be found covering someone's house, but we found that it had just flipped over the top of the roof." After a failed attempt at using a seam of sand sewn in the bottom of the flag to keep it weighted down and several other rips from windstorms, they invented a seemingly successful cable and pulley system that attaches the flag to the sides of the building, allowing for it to be pulled up and into a bag on the roof without it getting dirty or touching the ground.

"We have gotten some calls from people alerting us that the flag on the east side of the building is hanging incorrectly," says Skaggs. "But we did some research, and Earl and I remember from being in the Army National Guard, that when a flag is hanging vertically, the union — which is the blue field — must be on the left side of the viewer."

But these aren't the only calls that the company has been getting. "People call saying that they leave their windows open so they can see the flag. Truckers on CBs passing on I-90 use it as a destination marker, and people flying in on planes can see it from the plane, during the day or at night lit up as the planes circle downtown," Skaggs comments. "People call to thank us. They are a patriotic welcome to people coming to our city."

2nd: The flag, any flag; 3rd: God Bless America

It Happened Here: Expo '74 Fifty Years Later @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Jan. 26
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