While awaiting confirmation from Guinness on the record breaking plastic block structure known to Omahans as “The Great Amerian Flag Project”, John Lang visited the VIBF,Veterans in Business Forum, and granted OmahaNebraska.com and interview.
Thank you again to John for your visit and interview for our Omaha blog.
How did you come up with the idea for this project?
I came up with the idea after reading a Guinness World Record book and saw “The tallest tower made with plastic bricks.” This was my original goal, but I eventually felt that an American flag would be a great symbol to construct and would be a great way to help veteran and first responder charities.
Who came up with the design for this project?
I came up with the basic design and idea for the modularization of the flag itself with help from my mother and father, but the final and more in-depth design came from HDR, Inc.
What did you have to assemble to pull off this project?
We had to assemble wooden bases to place the 2.5″ x 2.5″ Mega Construx(TM) base plates on. We built 40″x 80″ sections out of plywood and connected 2x4s to raise them off the ground. We then glued 512 base plates to each of the 81 sections.
How did you get all the blocks?
The blocks were all donated by the Mattel Foundation. Mattel owns Mega(TM) and I spoke with executives from the Mattel Foundation and Mega, and they informed me that they would donate them all.
What skills did you learn from doing this project?
I learned many new management and leadership skills, problem solving skills, and communication skills. The biggest skill I learned was perseverance.
How many people helped you assemble the flag?
We had 248 people help assemble the flag.
What groups helped you?
We had many adults, families with small children, a group of firefighters and even Governor Ricketts, Mayor Jean Stothert and Congressman Don Bacon join us in placing over 340,000 Mega Construx(TM) plastic bricks. We had a family from Chicago help build because their children heard about it and wanted to help before they went home. We had a family whose parents were in from San Diego come out and help and stayed for the completion of the flag.
Who came out to see the flag as you were assembling it?
It is hard to say as most who stopped by to watch it being assembled ended up joining in. After it was built we had lots of veterans, families and individuals stop by to see the flag and pay their respects. We had intended to disassemble the flag Monday evening, but did not take it down until Thursday afternoon because so many people stopped by to see it. We had people stop by as early as 5:30 in the morning and as late as midnight to see the flag and talk about the project. We had a family 7-8 from Brazil stop by to see it on their way to the airport. A mother saw the news story on Univision and her young son wanted to come see it before we tore it down. We had people drive in from Lincoln and all over Iowa to see the Flag. It was very humbling to see how many people wanted to see the completed Flag.
What does our flag mean to you?
The flag to me is a symbol of freedom and hope. It represents our nation and those who sacrificed for our country and our citizens.