What started as 18 flags in downtown Rapid City 5 years ago is now 220, “we care about our vets, don’t we?”
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - You might have noticed the banners of veterans dominantly strung up and down Main and St. Joe Streets.
The banners have been hung for five years ever since Bill Casper, who’s been living in Rapid City since 1960, began putting them up.
They’re up between August 1 and November 12. The first year they went up, 18 were hung. This year, they hung 220 and expect next year the streets could house upwards to 300.
Casper says their willing to use any light pole the City allows them to. However, he says that every year they need to go and ask for permission, and that he’s hoping to receive a written form that allows them to put them up on lights the city allows, because he says it’s stressful to rely on the communication year after year.
He says most of the new light poles they’re using don’t have the required pieces to put the banners up, so they attach what’s needed to hang them and then donate them to the City.
Casper says each banner is sponsored, and those sponsors are allowed to put any information down about the veteran they’d like.
”We’re accumulating a lot of histories about these veterans. Some of them, pretty poignant. Got an example of a young man who died at 19 over in the battle of Guadalcanal when his ship was sunk. Another gentleman died over in the Leyte Gulf on a kamikaze attack. We put Joe Foss up this year, medal of honor winner,” says Casper.
Casper says they’re working on giving all of the history a permanent place on their website.
He says they’d also like to begin putting them up July 1st instead of August 1st, so the banners can be on the streets in time for Independence Day.
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