A crowd of about 100 withstood powerful October winds Sunday to attend the dedication of the flag atop C Hill - the brainstorm of "three wise men."
"Dan Mooney, Gil Ayarbe and Joshua Buscay have captured the hearts and spirit of Carson City and we owe you a tremendous debt," said Supervisor Robin Williamson as the 120-foot-by-67-foot vinyl flag graced the hill behind her.
Williamson emceed the event where Mayor Ray Masayko awarded proclamations to the trio, who also received certificates from representatives of Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid.
The flag was the idea of Gil Ayarbe and Dan Mooney as they walked along the foot of C Hill shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. As Mooney and Ayarbe searched for a material strong enough to withstand the weather, they were introduced to Joshua Buscay. Buscay had also been wanting to put a huge flag on C Hill, Mooney told the crowd. Using his computer, Buscay designed the flag that is there now.
"If it hadn't been for Josh, it wouldn't be," Mooney said.
An estimated 200 people volunteered time and money to the grassroots campaign to place the big flag. Mooney said it cost more than $3,800 and took more than a month for the all-volunteer crews to build and secure the flag.
"The flag gives me a sense of security. It makes me feel a hell of a lot better in these extraordinary times," he said.
The crowd was lead in the Pledge of Allegiance by Boy Scout Troop 144 and then they sang a verse of "God Bless America."
Afterward, onlookers were invited to cake and drinks and to trek through the sagebrush to see Old Glory up close.
"But don't get on the top because you don't put yourself superior to the flag," Williamson reminded them.
When asked what he is going to do with his days now that the task is complete, Mooney said he'll go back to his blacksmith shop.
Ayarbe said he will take a little break and work on forming a committee to maintain the flag over the years.
"I can't imagine the city ever being without a flag. After I am long gone I expect that flag to still be there," the 75-year-old said.