DIXON – The idea of having the Stars and Stripes atop the memorial arch didn’t fly last year, but the city is getting close to securing a permanent place for Old Glory.
In November, the arch sported a “W” flag to commemorate the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series championship since 1908, but it was taken down about a week later after the Illinois Department of Transportation deemed it unsafe to fly over the state highway.
The problem was that the flag pole couldn’t adequately be fastened into the holder, and it could pose a hazard to drivers if it fell.
The City Council wanted to bring back the tradition of having the American flag on the arch – the original was built as a veterans memorial in 1919 and read “Dixon honors and welcomes all who have served” – but that would require finding a way to install a permanent flag IDOT would sign off on.
Councilman Mike Venier said he and Dixon Fire Deputy Chief Mark Callison started looking for a solution a year ago and recently worked out a plan with IDOT.
The city has permission to install a flag, but the department will still need to make the final approval once it’s up.
Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said IDOT will require the city to take on liability if there is an accident, and it can fly only the American flag.
It’s yet to be determined when the flag will be erected, but the holder will be reinforced, and there shouldn’t be any problems, he said.
“There shouldn’t be any drag or strain on the structure itself,” he said.
The original arch, made of wood and beaverboard, was created to celebrate local veterans returning from World War I.
“From a historical perspective, it honors the intent of the original arch, and from the memorial perspective, it’s a symbol of why we serve,” said Arellano, who served two combat tours in Iraq.
It was replaced in 1949 and 1965, and the existing lighted, fiberglass arch was rededicated in 1985.
“I think that anything that raises the pride of the community is a good thing, and people are very proud of the arch,” he said. “They relate it to Dixon’s identity.”
Call City Hall at 815-288-1485, go to discoverdixon.org or find the City of Dixon Illinois Government & Tourism on Facebook for more information on the memorial arch.