By Dave Russell
Sylva’s historic courthouse and Mark Watson Park will star in “Ragged Old Flag,” a FOX Sports short feature set to air before the national anthem at Super Bowl LIV.
The game is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, in Miami, Florida.
A similar segment of the same name appeared about a half hour before the Super Bowl in 2017.
FOX approached county Manager Don Adams with the idea right before the holiday season, he said.
“They first called me about the courthouse and then I sent them a picture of Mark Watson Park with the flags up and they just fell in love with that, because we’ve got the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence there with the flags right behind,” Adams said. “We put the flags back up at Mark Watson Park for them.”
County staff took down the decorations on the courthouse hill before New Years Day, raising some eyebrows among locals, he said.
Sylva Department of Public Works staff on New Years Eve removed the Christmas tree from its place in the empty fountain at the end of West Main Street.
The FOX film crew set up Sunday in Mark Watson Park and around the courthouse steps to shoot footage of Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter.
As a Marine lance corporal, Carpenter threw himself on a grenade to protect one of his comrades while fighting the Taliban in Marjah, Helmand Province, Afghanistan in 2010. He suffered severe injuries to his face and right arm from the blast, including multiple shrapnel wounds and the loss of his right eye.
The short feature is based on a 1974 Johnny Cash song/recitation.
In the song, a narrator takes a seat beside an elderly man on a bench in front of a small town courthouse and comments on the “ragged old flag” hanging from a flagpole.
The man takes umbrage with the comment and takes the narrator through a mythical history of the flag, from Washington crossing the Delaware to Vietnam.
Afterward, he tells the visitor:
“So we raise her up every morning,
We take her down every night,
We don’t let her touch the ground and we fold her up right,
On second thought, I do like to brag,
’Cause I’m mighty proud of that ragged old flag.”
Adams said he hopes Sylva gets some recognition, but does not know if locations are revealed in the feature.