Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column wishing godspeed to the hearty and impassioned hikers summiting Peak 1 today to replace the torn flag at the top of the mountain.The flag will remain as a vigil over Summit County – a reminder of what happened in America three years ago today and a memorial to those who didn’t make it.Our very own photographers here at the Corporate Suites have come back with stunning shots of the flag. There was one in particular, taken from the peak in 2002 from a spot behind the tattered flag that overlooks Frisco, Dillon and the reservoir, that always gives us goosebumps.At first we couldn’t quite place the feeling this photo gave us. It was some mixture of pride and optimism that often welled up in our chest and produced a lump in our throat.Then, an epiphany. This was patriotism.Patriotism – not an emotion we feel on a daily, monthly or even yearly basis. We are Summit Up Landers, mountain people, Coloradans, Jews, Christians, black people, people from Mexico, people with European blood, Easterners, Midwesterners, Southerners. Rarely do we think of ourselves as Americans. But that’s our one common denominator.Perhaps patriotism isn’t an emotion at all, but a movement, an impetus that makes the residents of Summit Up Land climb one of our signature peaks and place America’s signature symbol on top?Whatever it is, we always feel it when we view this photo. In it the flag is torn and beaten from the relentless wind and weather at nearly 13,000 feet. Yet the banner stands, overlooking our small piece of the greater whole that it represents. It’s everything Summit County and America are all about: height and optimism, mountains and memorials, respect for the past and a picture of the present.The Peak 1 memorial may not stand forever. In fact, this will likely be the last flag ever placed atop the peak, and it may not even complete its one-year term, based on U.S. Forest Service regulations.So enjoy it now, even if you can’t make it to the top of the peak. Check it out with binoculars from a good vantage point. Look at it closely, and know that that feeling that overwhelms you does have a name.It’s called patriotism.***Well Americans, it’s Saturday, a day of rest to some, a day of work for others. As for us, we’ll be here at the Summit Up desk, although we don’t really consider this “work.” Nonetheless we’ll be ready to read your e-mails and listen to your phone messages, so do what you do at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 668-3998 ext. 237.We’re out on the mountain …
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