The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

May 6, 2014

Bay Hill strong: A symbol of strength

— It was a tattered old flag.

Oh, the stories it could tell.

It stood tall and proud last Monday on a barge at Lucy’s Branch Marina as 140-mph winds lay siege.

It held firm as an EF3 tornado set upon its home. It was struck, beat, bombarded, almost destroyed. Yet, it stood.

After the storms had passed, a Bay Hill resident noticed the tattered old flag barely hanging on.

No doubt, Old Glory had followed through with its duties. Now, it was time for the flag to retire.

That’s when four military policeman with the Alabama National Guard came in.

The four men have stood guard at the entrance of Bay Hill since the tornado ripped through the area. “They have worked so hard protecting us,” said Brenda Wilson, realtor and property manager at Bay Hill Village.

On late Sunday morning, as about 75 residents and friends gathered on the barge, the four soldiers lowered the tattered old flag and raised a new one. The retired flag was handed to Bubba Doss, co-owner and harbormaster at Lucy’s Branch Marina.

The new flag, a bright red, white and blue, was saluted as it started duty. 

The crowd softly sang “God Bless America” as the American Flag waved in the wind once again keeping watch over Bay Hill.

“It was beautiful,” Wilson said. “A really heart-warming experience for everybody.”

Leaving the barge, those who had gathered lined to shake the hands of of the soldiers and thanked them for their service.

“Thank you for all your good work,” one resident said .

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