Flag Ceremonies at Uptown Station
On these days, the FWBPD and FWBFD Honor Guards will carry out a moving ceremony raising the 50′ x 80′ Stars and Stripes. They will be in full Ceremonial Uniform. The Choctawhatchee High School Junior ROTC Color Guard will post The Colors before the Flag Raising.
Pearl Harbor Dedication and Celebration – December 5, 2008
FORT WALTON BEACH – Von Spencer was just 5 years old when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
“I remember sitting next to the radio listening to it,” said the trustee of VFW Post 7674.
Spencer was among a small crowd that gathered at Uptown Station at noon Friday to watch the flag-raising ceremony in honor of Pearl Harbor Day.
“It’s a wonderful thing to remember what can happen when we sleep,” said Spencer, who added that he had five brothers who served during World War II. “As a veteran, I know that a lot of countries don’t have a soft spot for the United States, and that’s what happened in 1941. We, as a nation, should never sleep and we should never forget.”
“Amazing Grace” wafted from speakers at Central Park as the honor guard from the Fort Walton police and fire departments lined up to carry the 50-foot by 80-foot flag to the pole. Honor guard members then saluted as it was hoisted to the top of the 170-foot pole and then lowered to half staff.
People in the parking lot stood by their cars, hands over their hearts as the national anthem was played and the flag – larger than a tennis court – undulated in the breeze.
Patriot Day Flag Ceremony, Uptown Station. – September 11, 2008
The combined Honor Guards from the Fort Walton Beach Police and Fire Departments joined with Uptown Station today for a moving ceremony to mark Patriot Day.
Despite the strong winds, the men and women of the Honor Guards managed to raise the 50’ x 80’ Stars and Stripes to the top of Florida’s Largest flagpole, before returning it to half staff in honor of 9/11.
The 170’ flagpole was erected and dedicated by Jay Odom, Uptown Station’s developer and owner, to all members of the Military, Law Enforcement, Fire Departments and First Responders.
Uptown Station, together with the combined Honor Guards carries out the flag ceremony at important National holidays throughout the year. A full calendar is available here.
We celebrate Independence Day at Uptown Station – July 3, 2008
A 50-foot by 80-foot flag is raised Thursday on the tallest flagpole in Florida at Uptown Station’s Central Park in Fort Walton Beach.
Flag Dedication Ceremony, “Honoring America’s Finest” – November 10, 2007
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The Flag is erected at Uptown Station – September 10, 2007
By noon Monday, the flagpole was standing tall over Uptown Station, the golden globe at its tip made tiny in the blue, late-summer sky. But raising the 170-foot tall pole — estimated to weigh 20,000 pounds — took most of the morning.
REPORTING ON THE FLAG DAY CEREMONIES: – HONORING AMERICA’S FINEST.
NWFL Daily News – Nov 11, 2007
It’s stil not clear which was bigger, the flag or the ceremony to commemorate it.
“It’s impressive when you drive by it,” said Steve Burough, a Vietnam Veteran who visited Uptown Station on Saturday for the dedication of shopping center owner Jay Odom’s giant flag. “It’s a great thing Mr. Odom has done here.
Odom’s Veteran’s Day eve was dedicated to country’s military, police, firefighters, and first responders who “have served, are serving, or will serve.” They are the people he says inspired him to erect the neck-craning monument.
“God bless everyone here and God bless America,” Odom told the crowd of several hundred. His enormous flag waved behind him, hoisted just minutes earlier by a uniformed crew of servicemen. State Representative Ray Sansom also took the podium. He called the flag a steadfast landmark to “keep us focused on who we are as a country, even in disorienting times.” Earlier a projection screen about the same size as the flag showed warplanes zooming across the sky. It was followed by a montage of images of local service members and Sheriff’s deputies training and firefighters battling flames.
If there were serious critics of Odom’s 170-foot flagpole present, they were drowned out by the cheers of folks filled with patriotic spirit. A choir from Okaloosa-Walton College sang in red – white – and blue before a soloist burst into “God Bless America” as the flag took to the sky. Several servicemen had to wrestle with the cloth to keep it from tangling. Meanwhile a handful of charities – Habitat for Humanity, Fisher House, and the United Way – took donations as fols walked away with ice cream, burgers, fake tattoos, and balloon animals.
Odom said he could remember riding his bike to the old Fort Walton Square years ago to get a haircut or to gawk at toys inside the old Sears store. He said he couldn’t believe he was raising a flag at the same spot.
“It’s almost beyond my imagination and comprehension,” he said. “I’m overflowing with excitement.”
A plaque will be placed at the base of the flag after it’s mounted on stone.
Daily News Staff Write Andrew Gant
PRESS RELEASE: Announcing the Flag Day Celebration
UPTOWN STATION FLAG DEDICATION SATURDAY NOVEMBER 10 – HONORING AMERICA’S FINEST.
Jay and Hayley Odom, Uptown Station’s owners and developers are dedicating the Uptown Station Flag to members, both serving and retired, of all branches of the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement and First Responders during a spectacular ceremony to be held on November 10.
The ceremony will feature an Honor Guard from the Fire Department, Law Enforcement Agencies and EMS; The OWC Choir with soloist Lindsey Buchanan; and other live music.
There will also be amazing kids activities like bouncers, stilt walkers, temporary tattoos, balloon sculptures and of course the incredible Central Park kids playground. The Uptown Express kids train will be running and rides will be $1 with all proceeds to charity. For the whole family there will be barbeque, hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream (Free for Military, Law Enforcement, Fire and First Responders – charity donation for others).
Uptown Station has also produced a special limited edition T-shirt to commemorate the event. T-shirts will only be available on the day and sold for $15, with all proceeds going to charities selected by the Military and First Responders.
The Flag Dedication ceremony will start at 4pm and finish at 6.30pm.
Following the ceremony, Uptown Station is hosting a spectacular drive-in style movie night on the Emerald Coast’s only outdoor 30’ video screen with the Oscar winning movie – ‘The Right Stuff’ starring Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, but please leave pets and alcohol at home.
FORT WALTON BEACH — September 10, 2007
By noon Monday, the flagpole was standing tall over Uptown Station, the golden globe at its tip made tiny in the blue, late-summer sky. But raising the 170-foot tall pole — estimated to weigh 20,000 pounds — took most of the morning. “What do they say? Good things come to those who wait?” said Chris Perry of Deep South Cranes, which raised the behemoth under the direction of U.S. Flags and Flagpoles.
Local developer Jay Odom, who owns Uptown Station Shopping Center, put up the flag at a cost of about $100,000, according to his staff. The 50-by-80-foot flags that will someday fly from it will cost about $5,000 each and be replaced three times a year.
A ceremony will be held Nov. 10 to dedicate the pole to the military and first responders, according to Odom’s marketing director, Martin Owen.
“This is close to his heart,” Owen said, adding Odom was out of the state Monday.
The flagpole is the tallest in Florida, according to Myron Duncan, field supervisor for the flag company.
“I know it is,” he added. “Because I’ve put up every one.”
Throughout the process, several dozen spectators watched and took pictures as well as video.
Rose Weiner of Fort Walton Beach was among them. She came up to Duncan as he took pictures of the pole with a disposable camera.
“Did you put the flag up?” she asked. “Masterful job, it’s wonderful.”
People who worked in stores at Uptown Station wandered in and out, checking on the progress.
“Does look taller straight up, that’s for sure,” said Neal Wells, who works at Playground Music in Uptown Station.
Fort Walton Beach City Councilman Virgil Miller, who said he made the motion to approve the flagpole, watched the entire process.
“I think it’s going to rejuvenate patriotism,” he said, “I like to see flags.”