MARQUETTE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - Dozens of veterans were at Gander Outdoors Friday afternoon for the special raising of a massive American flag. Gander Outdoors’ parent company Camping World Holdings began raising these flags outside their stores in 2014.
"We're just excited to be doing this, it's really going to be quite a thing to see this flag flying over Marquette," said Bob Weisenberger, GM of Gander Outdoors in Marquette Township.
The flag, measuring 80 feet by 40 feet, covers an area of 3,200 square feet, and flies on a 130 foot tall flag pole. Veterans came from far and wide to witness and even help with the flag raising. There was representation from veterans groups across all 15 U.P. counties.
"It's a very exciting reunion for us," said Vietnam veteran Johnny DePetro.
Gander Outdoors picked December 7 special for the flag raising. December 7 is the anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, an event that shocked the world and was the impetus for the United States to enter World War II.
"77 years ago, more than 2,300 people gave their lives in the service of this country,” said Weisenberger. “We want to honor that memory, as well as those who continue to serve and have served since."
Many of the veterans on hand expressed their gratitude, and thanks for the remembrance, not only of the date, but of the sacrifice that they gave.
"It's very heartwarming to have these people do this for us veterans," said DePetro.