On a Friday in early September, Sezna had boasted about eventually seeing from the 104th floor of the World Trade Center the flag flying in Bayonne, so he could point to it and say that was where the Bayonne Golf Club was.
"Deeg did not survive 9/11," Bergstol said, forced to pause as his emotions got the better of him during the flag raising ceremony on April 28.
Complete with a U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard, wailing Bayonne Police Department bagpipes and a stirring rendition "God Bless America" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" by professional singer Laura-Ana Knecht, city officials, representatives from Bayonne Golf Course, Bayonne Local Redevelopment Authority and others gathered at the shore of the former Military Ocean Terminal to celebrate the raising of a flag that will become a permanent feature in the New York Harbor, the largest - if not the only - American flag visible to arriving ships.
"The flag will become an icon of the harbor. It will be lighted and remain flying night and day," said Mayor Joseph Doria in his comments to the gathering of about 40 people.
During the singing of the national anthem, workers situated at the 95-foot high bluff, where the Bayonne Golf Club will be erecting a clubhouse next year, slowly pulled the ropes that elevated the 30-by 60-foot American flag a 150-foot-high pole.
"Watching the flag go up I kept thinking this is as special as it gets," Bergstol said, noting that over the years, he has traveled most of the roads through New Jersey and has even passed through Bayonne a few times. "Eight years ago, I stopped here, and saw the property and said, 'wow,' and I knew the property could be something special."
This took vision since the 120-acre site was then still a pile of debris from when most of it had served as the city's dump.
The project, designed to transform the dump into one of the most potentially desirable Irish/Scottish-links style golf courses, required eight years of labor and 7 ½ million cubic yards of fill, creating a quality tax ratable for the city and a new attractive feature that will help transform the waterfront.
"We wanted to make a difference," Bergstol said.
The 18-hole golf course imitates those found in places like Ireland where greens are carved out of the tops of hills, creating one of the most challenging forms of golf. The course is expected to open Memorial Day weekend.
While city officials and representatives from the golf course made history by installing the largest pole and flag on New York Harbor, they made use of one of the most historic flagpole manufacturers on the East Coast, a family-run Camden flagpole company called Lingo Inc.
Rinaldo D'Argenio, attorney for Empire Golf, said the size of the pole presented a few problems since the crane brought to the site wasn't large enough.
"What is really remarkable about this is how the flag just suddenly appeared, and people in lower and midtown Manhattan will wake up, look out and see it and wonder how it got here and they will know where Bayonne is and will know that's where the Bayonne Golf Club is."
The flagpole rises 150 feet into the air and is set 15 feet deep into concrete to provide a counterweight to anchor it.
The powder white pole, which arrived in Bayonne in two or three sections, is tapered, meaning that it is widest at its base and narrows as it reaches the top.
"It is 22 inches at the base and five inches at the tip," said Jeff Lingo, current president and the fifth generation to run the flagpole company founded in 1897.
The pole is also topped by a 24-inch in diameter, 70-pound gold leafed copper ball. Lingo said gold leafed balls were a standard in classic flagpoles of the past.
"It used to be all flagpoles had the gold leafed copper ball at the top." he said.
"We wanted something that was more elegant," said D'Argenio. "That's why we went with the tapered pole."
Jeff Lingo said he learned the craft of gold leafing from his father, Jack, as a boy. But because this was such a special project, Jack - who is in his 80s - asked to do the gold leaf work on the Bayonne project.
In 109 years of business, Lingo Inc. has supplied poles to some very significant projects over the years, including the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., numerous U.S. embassies and corporate offices around the world.
Jeff Lingo said this pole and flag will be the largest in New York Harbor.
"When the owners of Bayonne Golf Club approached us we looked around. The one thing we did not see around the harbor was an American flag," Lingo said.
For Lingo, the flag has a significant meaning because of the missing Twin Towers across the harbor from where the flag will stand.
"I'm from southern New Jersey near Philadelphia. When I come near Lower Manhattan, I am very aware of those missing towers. I know one reason behind putting this pole and this flag on the harbor has a lot to do with what happened on 9/11."