State Sen. Ray Scott’s storm-tossed Old Glory
Author: John Tomasic - January 19, 2017 - Updated: January 19, 2017
There’s an American flag that’s probably 6 feet wide and 10 feet long hung on a wall in state Sen. Ray Scott’s office.
“Well, I couldn’t find a bigger one,” he jokes.
The flag is probably bigger than 6 by 10. It looks huge — and not because Scott’s office is one of the cramped Capitol cubbyholes most lawmakers enjoy. It’s a spacious well appointed office located in the second-floor southwest-corner suite occupied by the Senate Republican leaders.
The flag draws your eye, not only for being too large to be tacked up on a wall, but also because it’s faded and tattered. It’s ripped at the bottom. It recalls the Storm Flag raised at Fort Sumter. It’s a beautiful wreck.
“I got it from a tea party group in Grand Junction,” Scott explains. He has represented Grand Junction at the Capitol for seven years, first in the House and then, since 2015, in the Senate. “It came in this huge box. I mean, it was like, What the hell is this? Turns out, it was from someone in New Orleans. It survived Hurricane Katrina. It’s a Hurricane Katrina flag.”
According to the people who gave the flag to Scott, it’s the one that flew on the BellSouth phone company building in the heart of the city. “It was going to be trashed,” reads a note bearing the flag’s backstory, which Scott is quick to present. “Have a look,” he says.
“The patriotic gentleman who saved it presented it to Sarah Palin,” the note says. “From Sarah, it was given to a friend who gave it to Joyce Schaffer, a Fruita native and great Patriot. She was to present it to a Western Slope T.E.A. Party group. In 2011, it was presented to the Western Conservative Alliance by Joyce Schaffer.”
“The tea party group doesn’t exist anymore,” says Scott, shrugging.
The flag’s still here. It’s living its second or third life, at least. It’s seen two presidential administrations, at a minimum. It’s made it through the Bush era and the Obama era and it’s a day away from the start of the Trump era — and it’s got the scars to prove it.