Could that possibly be an American flag that size, hovering over Weehawken Stadium?
That's exactly what it was. A 10-story, gargantuan American flag balloon, a genuine hot air flying apparatus, was introduced for the first time at a presentation in Weehawken Thursday morning.
The presentation, which was held to promote the 20th anniversary of the Quick Chek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, presented by JCP&L, in Readington, N.J. July 26-28, was held in Weehawken to honor the Port Authority police, as well as the police, fire and emergency medical personnel who helped victims of the World Trade Center tragedy.
The presentation was also held in commemoration of Flag Day, which was Friday.
The American flag balloon, which measures 53 feet by 78 feet and 29 feet front to back, was constructed on a design by Teri and Barry DiLibero, long before the terrorist attacks took place.
"About a year and a half ago, I had this great idea to build an American flag balloon," Teri DiLibero said. "We could take it to balloon rallies and hand out pocket constitutions and teach our youth about the great country we live in."
The balloon, which is being sponsored by PNC Bank, was already being made by a manufacturing company in Brazil, when the WTC tragedy took place - and Americans became more in tune with Old Glory than perhaps ever before in history.
It was introduced for the first time Thursday, with several members of the Weehawken and Port Authority of New York/New Jersey police in attendance, as well as members of the North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue and members of the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad.
The Port Authority pipe band also performed as part of the presentation.
"We're proud that they chose Weehawken to be the site to show this great balloon for the first time," said Deputy Police Chief Robert DelPriore. "It's a tremendous tribute to us to be involved and makes you proud to be an American. It's a very impressive balloon. I honestly have never seen a square balloon before. We will never forget that day, and to having something like this is another way to make sure we never don't forget it."
Howard Freeman, the executive producer of the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, felt that it was important to have something to honor America in this year's festival.
"We were looking to do something special," Freeman said. "This balloon is an incredible tribute to everyone who lost their lives on that day and to those who worked hard trying to save lives that day as well."
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner also spoke at the press conference.
"The Port Authority police took the largest loss of police that day, and this commemorates those victims that were lost on Sept. 11 and those who helped to rescue and assist as well. It's a very fitting and appropriate tribute."
Turner was also happy to note that some of the funds raised by the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning go to the Children's Miracle Network.
Joseph Wall, the executive vice-president of PNC Bank, was also impressed with the balloon.
"I don't know if the American flag has been more magnificently displayed," Wall said. "Flags are meant to be flown. Well, this flag can fly."
The flag balloon will be the first to be inflated and head out during each day of the festival, which is held at Solberg Airport in Readington. The festival will feature some impressive musical acts, like the Beach Boys, Hall & Oates and the Dave Mason Band.