Tidal Construction Company erected the gigantic American flag that overlooks Richmond Hill and Hwy. 17 on Sept. 7.
On Friday, Oct. 19, the flag’s dedication was held outside the company’s doors, in front of the massive red, white and blue.Tidal owners John Meeks and Anthony Register said it was the right thing to do for both the community and the nation as a whole, honoring the country’s troops and veterans.
While the skies threatened rain, the weather didn’t keep the crowd away. The Richmond Hill High School Band performed numbers such as God Bless America, and many local residents stood by with city, county and state officials to witness the dedication.
Congressman Jack Kingston was among them.
"One of the things that is so great about America is free enterprise and businesses, like yours, that step forward and do something like this," Kingston said of Tidal.
"Think about the thousands of soldiers who are, right now, in Iraq serving capably under General Lynch and his brave leadership. When they return, this will certainly be one of the first things they see," he said. "What it will say to them is God bless America, God bless you, God bless you for what you have done, and Richmond Hill and Coastal Georgia is happy to have you back because your sacrifice and your values are our values."
Before the plaque dedication was unveiled, Meeks recognized Mayor Richard Davis for his support of the idea, starting from the time the company first opened.
"My personal thanks goes out to Mayor Davis in his leadership in our community and his never ending work to recognize the veterans of our country. I’d just like to thank him at this time," he said.
Davis said the idea started 17 years ago and, now that the flag has been raised over the community, he’ll be able to retire a happy man.
"Anything worth having is worth waiting on and being patient about," he said. "This is going to be a landmark in Richmond Hill…we’re looking forward to it and we’re very proud to have accomplished this goal."
City Manager Mike Melton gave the opening remarks."To our veterans and families of our vigilant warriors and our fallen heroes, America is deeply grateful for your unselfish service and your profound sacrifice. Speaking as a veteran, I am honored that the City of Richmond Hill is continually honoring those who have served our great nation. This recognition is dually deserved," he said.
"The City of Richmond Hill wants to give back to all veterans in our community and around the world," he said. "Thanks to their hard efforts, this land is the land of the free. While our community continues to expand with new families that have fallen in love with Coastal Georgia, we strive to remain a tight-knit community for all to enjoy. This community wants to recognize those community members and their families for their service. We want others to know that patriotism is still alive."
On behalf of the 3rd Infantry, Division Rear Detachment Commander Lt. Col. Brian Gale also talked about what the flag means from his perspective.
"In the armed forces, there is one standard that is held above all others – this great flag of our nation," he said. "It remains constant. This symbol of our great country will endure the test of time and by a symbol of our past, our present, and our future," he said.
Gale pointed out the way in which community members, who had come out to support the dedication, were pausing amidst busy schedules to marvel at the symbol of America.
"I stand here in awe at such a wonderful memorial – such an incredible symbol of what is right and correct in our country and also in this great city. One person, one company, one city’s efforts will serve as a unity standard in showing that we, as a nation, never forget," he said.
"Once again, I am in complete admiration of Tidal Construction Company and the City of Richmond Hill for erecting such a powerful monument to the veterans of the armed forces and our great country, and a symbol of our country and all that we hold so dear. The light of freedom will never be extinguished and the symbol of our nation will never fall."