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American flag making waves in Masonboro Inlet

READ MORE: American flag making waves in Masonboro Inlet

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –- The stars and stripes are perhaps our Nation’s most recognizable symbol. But a tribute to service members on Masonboro Island is making waves among boaters and the people in charge of the island.

Cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway and near marker 151 you’ll find an empty flagpole. Since the Fourth of July weekend, it had flown an American flag. Boaters calling themselves the “Anonymous Patriots” posted a plaque with it honoring veterans and active duty military that have served our county and defended our freedom. They say they could not think of a better view from their boats than Old Glory. But now, the flag is gone, and the boaters who put it up, who do not want to be identified, say they don’t understand why.

“It's disappointing that the state doesn't recognize it for what it is, a memorial that didn't cost the tax payers a dime,” and Anonymous Patriot said. “It would have been nice if the state would have erected something like that but again, some private citizens, “Anonymous Patriots” put it up as a city memorial for all the see."

Hope Sutton with the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management says personal property is not allowed on Masonboro Reserve, so the flag had to go.

“We give them some time to come claim their property, then we go back and remove those items,” Sutton said. “So in this case, it happens to be a flag pole, but it's pretty much the same as other personal property."

Sutton says Coastal Management left a note on the flag Friday letting the owners know that by law it had to be taken down. She says when the flag was still flying Tuesday morning, officials removed it from the pole. Sutton says she knows the people responsible for the flag are nervous to come forward, because they think they will get in trouble, but she says she is working to find a new home for the flag.

“We would like nothing more than whoever placed that flagpole there to come and work with us to find a more suitable location where it could be lawfully installed so it could be appreciated as it was intended,” Sutton said.

The boaters say they do not think they were given enough time to figure out if the flag could stay where it was, and where they hope it will soon return. They say they have gone as far as to contact local and state leaders to see what can be done about getting the flag back where they think it belongs.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


Palm tree

That's exactly what my thought was. Last time I was out there, they also added a parking meter right next to the fake palm tree. That tree has been there for a very long time. Why doesn't anyone complain about that and have it removed? Not that I want it to be, but it's the same principle.

Unlike an American flag, you

Unlike an American flag, you can't wrap yourself in a palm tree or parking meter...hyper-sensitive minds...nothing more, nothing less.

They were anonymous for a reason

"boaters who put it up, who do not want to be identified, say they don’t understand why"... Horse pucky ... Of course they understand why ... It was because "by law it had to be taken down", that's why ... Well intentions aside, the end doesn't always justify the means ... Seems to be a common thread in todays society for both the sinners and the saints : "whatever I do is justified simply because I want it to be" ... Welcome to planet Terra-Egocentric.

American Flag

They are anonymous because they do not want the glory for doing somethig so wonderful. They took their time and money to do something we all can enjoy. God Bless the men or women who did this for all of us!

Let Her Fly

I may not be a local but I do frequent the area often to visit family! I think the flag is breath taking where it stands! What a great way to show appreciation to our past, present and future soilders who fight everyday so we can be free! As a famous singer once sang:
American girls and American guys,
will always stand up and saulute,
will always recognize
When we see OLD GLORY flying,
theres alot of men dead,
So we can sleep in peace at night,
when we lay down our heads.

Enough said!!


I appreciate our warriors, too, and I love my country, but sometimes I love my country without a lot of man-made objects sticking up in the air everywhere I look.

flag etiquette

Who lights it? Who takes it in, during inclimate weather? Who is responsible for lowering it to half-mast, at the order of the President?
No one? Then don't fly it. Ever. Anywhere. A neglected flag is one of the saddest things to see.
If the people had come forward, and promised to properly maintain the flag, and had a contact person, I would be surprised if Coastal Management would have a problem. Instead, they just put it up, like a bunch of pranksters, and have yet to reveal who they are. Stand up "Anonymous Patriots," or sit down.
As far as Guest461's issues with Coastal Management, it doesn't sound like abandoned vessels would be in their jurisdiction or purview. That sounds like a job for the Coast Guard. Once you start dealing with boats, there's a whole different set of laws (Admiralty), that have to be followed.


Gee...I guess we better get back up to the moon and take it down.

This excerpt was taken from

This excerpt was taken from The National Flag Code Website. Look it up.

§174. Time and occasions for display
(a) Display on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in open; night display
It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.

(b) Manner of hoisting
The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.

(c) Inclement weather
The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.

(d) Particular days of display
The flag should be displayed on all days, especially on New Year's Day, January 1; Inauguration Day, January 20; Lincoln's Birthday, February 12; Washington's Birthday, third Monday in February; Easter Sunday (variable); Mother's Day, second Sunday in May; Armed Forces Day, third Saturday in May; Memorial Day (half-staff until noon), the last Monday in May; Flag Day, June 14; Independence Day, July 4; Labor Day, first Monday in September; Constitution Day, September 17; Columbus Day, second Monday in October; Navy Day, October 27; Veterans Day, November 11; Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November; Christmas Day, December 25; and such other days as may be proclaimed by the President of the United States; the birthdays of States (date of admission); and on State holidays.

It is my understanding that the patriots that flew our Stars and Stripes followed this code in true form. It truely saddens me to hear it has been taken down.

What sickens me is the thought of these so called coastal management hall monitors taking the flag down. I find myself wondering if they lowered the flag ceremoniously, or did they just let Old Glory drape to the ground in dispair. Did they fold the flag according to code??? I highly doubt it. BE ASHAMED COASTAL MANAGEMENT. Let Our Symbol Of Freedom Fly With Pride!!!


I'm not saying they should of taken it down because I'm not, I'm saying your understanding is wrong. Did you even read what you wrote?The flag isn't illuminated properly so they didn't follow the code in true form.

American Flag

Well Said!!!!!

American Flag

Where is the "common sense"here? This is the American Flag not some piece of trash. Why does everything have to be so politically correct. It is beautiful and well done. No cost to anyone except the people who erected it. I would like to say thank you and God bless you to the ones responsible. Wish we had more people like you. People who are proud to be Americans. Proud to honor the men and women who serve and have served in the military. Again, thank you and God Bless You!

This is absolutely

This is absolutely rediculous!! We are talking about an AMERICAN FLAG!!! This is AMERICA!!! I have personally seen several boats come to a complete stop in the Intercoastal Waterway to admire this beautiful expression of thanks and honor. Some patriots on these boats take pictures of the Flag, others I have seen actually salute it!
The true patriots that raised this symbol of freedom not only did a terrific job with the location, but the protocol was perfect. The Flag wears a plaque explaining her purpose, which is what every single American Flag is intended to do. Show thanks for our Freedom!!! The Flag also carries a light mounted on the pole itself shining on our Glory all night??? This was obviously done out of pure respect, superb planning, and true patriotic dedication to the men and women who have faught and died for the people that took it down. Makes me sick!!!

American Flag

Well Said. Wish there were more Americans like you! God Bless you and the others.

American Flag

Where is the "common sense" here. We are talking about an American Flag not a piece of trash. It is beautiful and very well done. No cost to anyone but the people who put their money and time into erecting something beautiful that hundreds of people can enjoy. I do not feel they think they will get into trouble if they come forward. My thought is they do not want the credit for doing something so wonderful and something straight from the heart. Each one of us should be so thankful that people have such a great pride in America. We owe so much to the men and women who serve and have served in the military. We need to get back to the basics and stop this everything has to be so politically correct. I would like to personally thank the person or persons who gave us this beautiful flag, to say God bless you. Wish we had more people like you.

The State will probably

The State will probably install a flagpole there at a later date, after expensive studies, consultations, surveying and other BS the state is good for. In short, it will probably cost the taxpayers $300,000 for a $500 flagpole. Welcome to the world of politics and corruption.

American Flag

I feel the patriotic men or women who put the flag up are not afraid of getting into trouble. I think they do not want to be recognized for the great and wonderful deed. Seeing that flag makes one feel a great sense of pride. When we see such a sight, it makes us stop and reflect on this great nation we call home. This did not cost the state a dime, but has given us so much. Whom ever did this took their own money and time to give all of us something very special. I would like to say "thank you". Where is the "common sense" here?? Are we forgetting the beauty, the pride we feel, every time we look on that hill. For someone to think of such a great way to honor our men and women of the military and then to share it with hundreds of people. I am very proud to be an American and these people say it all!!! Let's keep America, our sense of pride, and belief in God alive!

American Flag at Masonboro

Sounds like Hope Sutton thinks of the American flag as just another piece of trash in the inlet.

The flag comes down, but the junk gets to stay?

So, tell us "Coastal Management" bigshots with nothing better to do. Answer us ALL a big and long term question. Why is it that a scuttled 26 foot sailboat has been littering the south end of Masonboro island for nearly five years without being removed or even attempted to be cleaned up? When I first found it, it was near salvagable with legible state registration numbers, intact sails/rigging and hull with the stench of diesel fuel and onboard sewage leaking onto the beach. It is still there, full of sand now, all broken up with pieces all over the place. Fiberglass chunks, pieces of mast, wire cable and rudder parts for FIVE LONG YEARS!!! You never did a damned thing about that but let it lay and rot as an eyesore to, OUR pristine island where you want nothing but birds to set foot on. In addition, there are three other scuttled vessels abandoned on the back side of the island with the very same issues, simply left to rot, contaminate and spoil. ZERO attempts to remediate! But you just HAD to take that flag down, huh? A real thorn in your side I suppose...difficult to endure. Nice work.

So, answer the question without a bunch of political lip smacking. Why is it that you feel compelled to remove something that is obviously done in honor of our country's Hero's, but you can't seem to manage the junk that gets dumped there and remains for years without the first hand being laid on it to clean it up?

"Coastal Management" my sorry backside! You're even more worthless that our grandiose state DOT and you don't even have to plan a street or pave a highway. Can't even keep a little island clean, much less perform "Coastal Management"! Just another "facade" sucking on the taxpayer billfolds providing nothing other than a nuisance.

It is organizations like yours that I will do my very best to eliminate or reform into something useful and practical. You are nothing other than a precise example of what is wrong with this country today, from an economic, a functional and political standpoint.

Masonboro is a beautiful place and I feel very privileged to have access to her. I really can't think of a more appropriate place to locally honor those that have fought so bravely and died protecting the freedoms we all get to enjoy. It is a shame that your vision is so shallow.


Very well said!


That was one of the most scathing, yet well-written commentaries I've seen. Right from the heart, I can tell. Good job...I think it's awesome to get in the face of these "above the small people" nimrods. They need to be kept in check.



Sounds like the folks who

Sounds like the folks who oversee Masonboro Island are more than willing to work with the group to resolve the problem...just goes to show you, don't put a flag pole where you wouldn't put a plastic flamingo...Masonboro is a nature preserve, not someone's front lawn.


Its a shame you would compare the American Flag to a plastic flamingo!! There once was a time this would not have even been an issue!

Wow..he didn't compare a

Wow..he didn't compare a flamingo to the American flag...he said flagpole.

Uhhh, best re-read my post.

Uhhh, best re-read my post. I said "flag pole", not an American flag.

We don't honor our fallen with "pink flamingos" either!

THAT is one of THEE most ludicrous statements I've seen posted on this site! If you don't work for the "Coastal Management" group, you should go get a job with them now! You would likely get into top "management" at first draw. The engraved flag pole and flag was put there to honor the men and women that have fought and perished to preserve the very freedom that flag stands for. It appears you know VERY LITTLE about that.

That flag was a beautiful thing to see with Masonboro in the background for all of the locals and the snowbirds traveling our waterway. It is not a piece of trash, a pink flamingo, a busted-up junk sailboat or a pile of tourist trash. Your comparison of the flag of the United States of America to a pink flamingo is one of the boldest and flagrant examples of idiocy I've witnessed.

Bear in mind as well, that Masonboro belongs to the people. The state may hold title, but it IS the front lawn of the people of New Hanover County!

Justin, No disrespect

No disrespect intended but your comment comparing the american flag to a plastic flamingo speaks for itself and the validity of your statement.


I find it sad and disgraceful that you can compare the American Flag with plastic flamingos. People seem so intelligent until they start talking. You should be thanking the Stars and stripes that you are able to post comments like that on here.

American Flag at Masonboro

Masonboro is a natural preserve, but the American flag is our national emblem.