Batavia flag monument effort flying high

Organizers plan June 14, 2020, dedication for Old Glory tribute

BATAVIA – Fundraising efforts are moving ahead for the Batavia Flag Day Monument, with organizers planning a June 14, 2020, dedication for the tribute to Old Glory.

The monument will pay homage to the American flag and to Flag Day founder Bernard J. Cigrand of Batavia.

Cigrand was a local dentist who campaigned 30 years for creation of the American Flag Day observance and finally succeeded in 1916.

Designed by Batavia architect Steve Vasilion, the monument will occupy a prime location in front of the Batavia Government Center on an open space between the west parking lot and the Island Avenue traffic circle, immediately east of the Peg Bond Center.

A circular helix, 40 feet in diameter, will rise from a little more than 3 feet high to about 8-and-a-half-feet tall.

The 1-foot-thick poured concrete helix walls are to feature recessed bands, colored red, white and blue, running around the length of the monument, commemorating the evolution of the American flag, great moments in American history and local events.

“We’re telling the story of our great nation through the 27 official versions of the flag that have flown over America,” said Austin Dempsey of Batavia, who is leading the drive by the Fox Valley Patriotic Organization to establish the monument.

The perimeter will be interspersed with five marble-clad obelisks standing about 10 feet tall, each commemorating great moments in the history of the flag.

These are to include Cigrand and Flag Day, creation of the first flag by Betsy Ross, the writing of the national anthem by Francis Scott Key, the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II and the 1969 moon landing.

The monument will be centered with a 50-foot-tall flag pole flying the Stars and Stripes. Outside the helix, a 10-foot-wide sidewalk will circle the monument.

The cost of the monument is about $900,000, Dempsey said.

Pledges from the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley and the Dunham Fund, along with additional donations, have produced $350,000, Dempsey said.

A fundraiser for the monument will take place at 6 p.m. March 1 at the Nagle Emporium at Abbey Farms, 2855 Hart Road in Aurora.

Tickets are $100 each for the “Flags and Flannel” community barn dinner. The event will feature dinner from Team FIB BBQ, a cash bar and live music from Billy Croft and the 5 Alarm Band.

In addition to live auctions, partygoers will be able to help fund the Flag Day Monument with the purchase of laser-engraved bricks that will be laid around the site.

Dempsey said the laser inscriptions will allow for a lasting memorial or message to be displayed.

The cost of a 4x8-inch brick paver, with up to three lines of text, is $150.

An 8x8-inch paver with up to six lines of text is $300.

An 8x8-inch paver featuring pictures, logos or other art elements may be purchased for $500.

Batavia has long celebrated its status as the home to Flag Day founder Cigrand and for several years has been holding a Flag Day Ice Cream Social on the Batavia Riverwalk.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Flag Day as June 14, recognizing the day in 1777 when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the nation’s flag.

In 1946, National Flag Day was established by an act of Congress.

Installation of the Batavia Flag Day Monument is expected to get underway early next year and to be completed in time for the June 14, 2020, dedication.