Erwin Prieskorn Post 46 procures a flagpole for the community and its veterans

Over the last several years at least two attempts were made to have a flagpole dedicated to veterans erected at Ann Arbor, Michigan's Veterans Memorial Park. Between politics and lack of funds, the attempts were in vain. In June of 2018 the then commander of American Legion Post 46, Oleg Michjalenko, was talking with fellow member Doug Harvey about how there was no American flag flying at the park. After conferring with Oleg, Doug then followed up by checking with a flag company to see what the price of a 40-foot flagpole and its installation would be. They quoted him $5,000. Doug then presented his idea and the price to his post where they voted to go forward with the project. Doug then approached the City of Ann Arbor to see if they would let the Post have it installed at the park. He was referred to the Parks and Recreation Department where they arranged a meeting. Several members of Post 46 and the Parks and Recreation met at the proposed site where the members of the Parks and Recreation looked over the plans and ideas and determined that this would be a great idea and would be a showcase for Ann Arbor. The flagpole would be erected in a very visible, highly trafficked area. Several meetings over the next few months with Doug, Oleg, and Parks and Recreation took place and the price tag grew during that time. At first, it rose to $10,000. That was thought to be manageable and they received approval from the Post for the additional funds. Then, a little later, the price rose to a total of $20,000 with all the landscaping, pavers, sidewalks and lighting that was added. The post decided they still wanted to continue with the project and went fundraising. Doug and Oleg approached the local VFW Post 423 to see if they would contribute to the project. The VFW post voted to cover the remaining $10,000.

On August 9, 2019, the flagpole was finally erected. It took only three and a half hours from beginning to end. A ceremonial groundbreaking was performed by the members of Legion Post 46, VFW Post 423, Parks and Recreation and family members. The next day about 20 veterans and family members gathered to perform an impromptu flag-raising ceremony. A prayer and a few songs were performed after the flag was raised. The flag had to be lowered that same day as the lights had not yet been installed. The flag was folded and photo ops ensued. There was enough pride on that day to last most people a lifetime.

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