A proud new tradition is flying old glory from the Mighty Mac on holidays. Now, the Mackinac Bridge Authority has devised a safer and better way to do it.

It started Memorial Day of 2017, hoisting a 30 foot long and 60 foot tall American flag to fly from the tower of the Mackinac Bridge. Traffic had to be stopped, and about a dozen workers engaged to protect and raise the flag, reversing the procedure and again interrupting traffic flow to respectfully lower and store the gigantic banner.

Mackinac Bridge Authority Maintenance Supervisor Ned McLennan and his crew have invented a device similar to a roll-up window curtain that can store the flag when not in use and raise and lower it using a remote control. Painted ivory to match the towers, it stays up year-round, requires only one person to operate and keeps traffic moving on the bridge. (Note: rolling large flags for storage is acceptable by flag etiquette standards.)

One tricky part of the two-year development of the mechanism was protecting the flag- they needed to reinforce the bottom. Here's where McLennan's mother comes in. Patti McLennan is a seamstress and volunteered her stitches and time. So, Michigan ingenuity will keep the proud tradition of the American flag flying from the Mackinac Bridge on six holidays each year: Memorial Day, Flag Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Patriots Day, and Veterans Day.

Mackinac Bridge Authority
Mackinac Bridge Authority

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