The raising of the flag on top of Independence Monument is a tradition now in its 101st year. This being my first 4th of July in the valley, I don't want to miss this.

Mesa County Sheriff's Office Technical Rescue Team are preparing now for this year's historic climb. The all-volunteer search and rescue crew will be toting the flag to the top and this year, taking guests on the climb, including two US Marines.

Keyes

This tradition was started over 101 years ago by the legendary John Otto. Otto was a local hero and the Colorado National Monument's first custodian. He was a key advocate for its addition into the National Park System.

The tradition of raising "Ole Glory" is now that of the county's Technical Search and Rescue Team to uphold. Once the last crewmember reaches the top the team gathers to raise the flag.

The best spot to take in the spectacle is at the Book Cliffs Viewpoint near the Visitor’s Center. Another quality spot is the Independence Monument Viewpoint. The plan is to plant the flag around 11 am. If you want to watch, the park encourages you to get out early. The tradition draws large crowds and the best views are occupied quickly.

This is another unique, local event that helps make living here a special place. If you're like me and have never witnessed the climb, I'd encourage you to do so. Or perhaps it's been a long time since you've made it out to The Monument on the 4th of July, either way, make this year you take it in. The event too is more than honoring America.