Fourth of July, Colorado Style


Photo: NPS

Every Independence Day, a special kind of celebration takes place at Colorado National Monument just outside Grand Junction Colorado National Monument is without doubt one of Colorado’s most incredible parks. Surely a future national park, it is also the site of one of the most impressive flag raising ceremonies in the entire country.


While people all over the US are firing up grills and washing down hamburgers with beers emblazoned with patriotic imagery, the Mesa County Technical Rescue Team will be atop Independence Monument, the 450-foot monolith of sandstone in Colorado National Monument, raising Old Glory.


Year after year, the highly-trained nonprofit group reenacts the journey that John Otto, the man responsible for the fact that National Monument exists at all, made back in 1911 when he spent several weeks pounding iron pipes and carving out footsteps into solid rock to make it possible for anyone to get to the top. As much a publicity stunt as it was a patriotic act, Otto started a tradition of raising the flag every Fourth of July. Today that tradition is continued by the Mesa County Technical Rescue Team.


On May 24, 1911, five years after he first laid eyes on the red rock canyons and resolved to have them recognized as a national treasure, President Taft signed a proclamation that established Colorado National Monument.

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