BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — Since 1999 the city of Bellevue has lined certain roads with American flags. The city is proud to have Offutt Air Force Base as a neighbor and many of the people who live in Bellevue are retired or current military families.
Mayor Rusty Hike said the flags make sense. He described Bellevue as "a great patriotic community."
The flags go up before Memorial Day every year. They're already up now. The flags stay up through Veteran's Day in November.
"I can tell you when they're not up by Memorial Day, we get calls, 'Where are the flags?,'" said City Administrator Jim Ristow.
The flag tradition has had some setbacks. The floods of 2019 damaged about 150 flags. They cost about $50 to $75 apiece.
"They were up in the rafters in that south shop so you can imagine that's probably 20 feet up in the air and our entire south shop was underwater," said Ristow.
They went up late that year, but they did make an appearance thanks to community donors.
Beardmore Chevrolet and WoodmenLife were the largest donors. WoodmenLife has committed to giving more to replace flags in the future, too. Individual donors have also chipped in.
"We really thought it was going to be challenging to come up with the money to keep it going like we wanted it to go, but I tell you what, they stepped up in a big way," said Mayor Hike.
Now the city has visions for the future.
The Sarpy County Chamber Legacy Project is focused on continuing the flags along Highway 370 through Papillion into Gretna. That stretch of highway is even called Strategic Air Command Memorial Highway.
Ristow and Mayor Hike said they need to get approval from various jurisdictions but the ball is rolling on that plan with no foreseeable opposition.
"It would be nice to have that up by the 4th of July so we're striving for that," said Ristow.