Flags resume waving in downtown Catonsville

Chamber raises money to replace discarded ones

October 09, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

After a two-year hiatus, American flags are flying in downtown Catonsville once again.

The flags, which are flown on special occasions from poles attached to parking meters along Frederick Road, were removed two years ago to prepare for a $2.1 million project that brought new sidewalks and light poles.

The flags were stored in Catonsville Elementary School during the project. But when town leaders went to retrieve them, they found that the flags had been accidentally thrown out.

The Catonsville Chamber of Commerce then began a campaign to raise money for new flags. Needing $2,300, the chamber received $3,500. It plans to use the excess money to buy flags to fly from the new light poles.

"One lady sent us a $1,000 check," said Maureen Sweeney Smith, past chamber president who helped lead the fund raising.

Once the town learned the old flags were discarded, it seemed only fitting that new ones be bought, Smith said.

"The last flags were from the former generation," she said. "The new flags should come from this generation."

After the first group of flags was bought, another obstacle arose: Making flag poles to attach to the parking meters. That's when Andy MacLeod stepped in.

MacLeod, a junior at Catonsville High School, was looking for a community project to help him become an Eagle Scout. He bought lumber, fashioned it into poles, sanded and stained them, and made a gold top for each.

MacLeod estimates that he spent 72 hours on the project during five weeks.

"I put them up in the rain," said MacLeod, 16. "We were halfway done, so we just decided to finish them."

MacLeod recently received his Eagle Scout award. And he proudly shows off his work to fellow students on the way to school.

"I told everybody on the school bus to check it out," he said.

The flags are flown on holidays such as Veterans Day and the Fourth of July. Smith was proud to see the flags waving from the parking meters Sept. 14, the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11.

"It was really cool," she said.

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