By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Back in the early 1990s, not long after Cole Chevrolet moved to its new location on U.S. Route 460 in Bluefield, the dealership erected a flagpole large enough to support an American flag that measures 15 feet by 25 feet. On Flag Day, 2013, The General Hugh Mercer Chapter, Sons of American Revolution, honored the dealership for its enduring display of patriotism.
“The flag has been here since 1991,” Tom Cole, vice president and principal of Cole Chevrolet Cadillac, said. “We’re very proud to be an American business.” He added that the dealership displays the flag to honor all the men and women who made the supreme sacrifice in defense of American freedom and in respect of all those who have served.
Cole briefly recalled the day in 1991 when Lee Greenwood sang the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the dedication of the new flagpole. Greenwood was in Bluefield to perform at a fund-raising concert in the National Guard Armory at Brushfork to support the American Red Cross. Throughout that year, Greenwood’s song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” had become a song that rallied the nation in support of the troops fighting in the Gulf War.
Cole Chevrolet had sponsored Greenwood’s concert in Bluefield. A few hours before the show, Greenwood visited the dealership and signed autographs for fans that had gathered to meet him. At the appointed time, Greenwood sang a powerful rendition of the National Anthem that Tom Cole mentioned during his brief remarks. Since that time, the huge flag has stood tall through blizzards, floods, heat waves and more.
Members of the Mercer Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution recognized the dealership’s ongoing commitment to display the flag through the years, and decided to present the chapter’s inaugural “Flag Certificate” to Cole Chevrolet Cadillac. Gregory B. Morgan, flag chairman and vice president of the Mercer Chapter SAR, said that the SAR started the Flag Certificate in 1987 to recognize “individuals, companies and government agencies that fly the U.S. flag for patriotic purposes only — at and night.” The dealership properly shines lights on the flag at night.
Morgan presented the flag to Cole as Richard D. Lockhart, chapter secretary/treasurer; Richard G. Grogan, chapter president; and Barbara Wood of the Daughters of the American Revolution looked on. A drill team commanded by James B. Hypes, and including Eric Keaton, Bob Neely and Jim Wood, fired a musket volley salute in recognition of the dealership’s demonstration of patriotism.
— Contact Bill Archer at email@example.com.