The flag is a symbol of our nation: it celebrates the arrival of new states, is lowered to honor our fallen, and marks significant cultural and historic events. This monument immerses you in these stories and honors Dr. Bernard Cigrand for his efforts in the campaign to recognize Flag Day.
Patriots Park is located in Batavia, IL. The main structure consists of a 40-foot diameter helical-shaped monument with an 8-foot walkway around the perimeter. The flagpole is 50 feet tall and displays a 10-foot by 18-foot flag. The flagpole and the monument are lit for night-time viewing. Benches are generously spaced throughout the site so that visitors can rest and enjoy the picturesque views.
The architect chose a helix for this design, constructed of poured concrete. The helix rises as it rotates and is the perfect shape to describe the aspirations of a young nation and its steady population growth: beginning with our 1776 population of 2.7 million, rising steadily, passing the point of our 2020 census population of 331 million.
The floor within the monument is built of concrete with marble pavers marked to represent the passage of time in 36-year increments beginning in 1776. The walkway around the perimeter utilizes brick pavers. ADA access is provided throughout.
Colored porcelain ceramic tile is placed into recessed bands that ring the walls of the helix:
Each tile represents one year of time;
Blue tile bands show the length of time each of our 27 official flags have flown. By law, one star must be added for each new state;
Red tile bands show the periods of our nation’s major armed conflicts;
White tile bands depicts other historical events such as the Great Depression;
Each tile band will have a plaque describing the event.
These features all come together so that when standing within the monument a visitor can learn what flag was being flown, how many states were joined into our Union, whether we were at peace or war, the approximate population, and what significant events occurred relative to any period in our nation’s history.
There are five marble obelisks They highlight and commemorate iconic flag events:
The first obelisk, placed front and center, features Dr. Cigrand and his efforts resulting in the creation of Flag Day.
The second talks about the Continental Congress’ establishing the first flag, with Betsy Ross as the likely seamstress.
The third tells the story of Francis Scott Key and his writing of the Star Spangled Banner following his witnessing of the shelling of Fort McHenry.
The fourth depicts the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima in WWII.
The last obelisk highlights the placing of the U.S. flag on the moon on July 29th, 1969.
The tapered obelisks also contain up-lighting designed to provide night-time illumination of the flag, majestically flown on a 50’ pole.
Ring of Honor:
A granite and brick walkway around the perimeter of the monument is called the Ring of Honor, drawing its name from those who have received our nation’s highest military recognition, the Medal of Honor. About 3,500 service personnel have received the Medal. Of these, over 200 were either born in Illinois or called Illinois home. As of 2023, these include two living recipients, Hal Fritz and Al Lynch.
All recipients are honored with plaques on the periphery of the ring. Each is inscribed with the recipient’s name, rank, branch of service, the Illinois town or city from which he hailed, and the date of his meritorious action.
It is hoped that some will walk the Ring and notice that 47 of the plaques bear the identical date of May 22, 1863 for the meritorious action. Maybe their curiosity will be piqued and they will look up the date and read about the Battle of Vicksburg. They will learn that there were 4,900 Union casualties that day, 120 men were awarded the Medal of Honor and 47 hailed from Illinois.
Each of the five major service branches are also recognized on smaller monuments spaced around the perimeter of the helix.
Is this a flag monument or a war memorial?
It is a monument that tells stories about our flag, stories that are woven into the fabric of our nation’s history. It is impossible to tell these stories without acknowledging the men and women who fought and sacrificed their lives to protect our nation, represented by our flag.
While this project has a large focus on history, there are also significant educational components.
Adjacent to the monument is a learning center where visitors can gather. It will contain a miniature flagpole sculpture which will serve as a sundial. Its shadow will pass directly over selected plaques at the exact date and time associated with historical American events.
Imagine a class of children visiting the site on November 22nd. As the time approaches 30 minutes past noon they will witness the shadow from the flagpole sculpture as it passes over a marker commemorating and describing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. They will learn about science and history in one lesson.
The result is a monument that is dramatic, artistic, and educational, honoring the history of our flag, the story of our nation, and the cultural events that define us. This monument now belongs to the City of Batavia, our neighbors, and our children. They will write the next pages of our history. The following challenge is written to them in a plaque which reads:
THE FUTURE IS YOURS
IT IS YOURS TO DECIDE
THE CULTURE WE EMBRACE
THE PEACE WE ACHIEVE
OUR NATIONS GROWS