Missing Flag

Gary Hettick, former owner of London Bridge Linens, said his staff created the giant flag that was used in the London Bridge Days Parade in 2003.

Today is Flag Day in the United States. That makes a fitting time to ask: What became of Lake Havasu City’s mammoth flag? It was manufactured in Havasu, used once and seems to have disappeared into thin air.

While tracking down the flag itself proved to be a failed hunt, uncovering the story behind it was a little easier.

Gary Hettick, former owner of London Bridge Linens, said his staff created the giant flag at the request of Tom Delzio in 2003. Delzio, employed by the Lake Havasu Fire Department at the time, was the organizer of the London Bridge Days Parade for many years. Delzio has since retired and left Havasu.

“Delzio wanted a big flag for the parade, so he asked if my company could make it. We did. Then he got a lot of city employees to walk it down the street during the parade. It took many people to hold it taut,” Hettick said.

He’s right. He produced a photo from his personal collection of the flag. It took 17 of his employees to unfurl and display Old Glory in the parking lot adjacent to London Bridge Linens.

Measuring 26 feet wide and 50 feet long, the flag was a labor of love for his company, Hettick said.

“We built it in our factory. About 12 people in our specialty department worked on it between filling other orders. It took us about two months. The fabric we used was the same material we used for making sheets. It’s on a continuous roll, so there was no splicing when we made the flag,” he said.

Hettick noted that the fabric for the white stars in the blue field was not pieced together, either. It measured 14 feet by 15 feet.

By comparison, the flag Hettick’s company made in 2003 was about the same size as the traveling flag that was unfurled over the side of the London Bridge in April. That flag measured 28 feet by 60 feet. As stated earlier, the London Bridge Linens flag was 26 feet wide and 50 feet long.

The Havasu-made flag also hung over the side of the bridge for a few hours after it appeared in the London Bridge Days Parade.

“After we made the flag, we handed it off to the city and I haven’t seen it since,” Hettick said.

Hettick said he founded London Bridge Linens in 1984.

“We started out in a storage unit with one sewing machine and one employee,” he said. By the time he sold the company in 2015, it had 26 employees and almost as many machines.

London Bridge Linens specialized in custom sheets and bedspreads for commercial and retail customers. The new owners moved the operation to Utah, Hettick said.

Can the mystery of the flag’s whereabouts be solved? Readers who may have ideas as to the flag’s location can call Pam Ashley at 928-453-4237, ext. 230 or email pashley@havasunews.com.

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