Official flag rises over Flanders, designer honored

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi presents 17-year-old Shannon Merker with a framed copy of her Flanders flag design Tuesday morning.

For the first time, an official flag representing the Flanders community is flying over the hamlet.

The flag, designed by 17-year-old Flanders native Shannon Merker, was raised above the Flanders Memorial Park Tuesday morning in a ceremony to honor the efforts of the McGann-Mercy High School junior.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Shannon Merker raises her flag with help from her mother, Lisa.

Shannon first pitched the idea for a flag representing her hometown six years ago when she noticed other local communities like Hampton Bays had official flags, but Flanders did not.

She sent her original design to Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who presented it back to her Tuesday, framed along with her final design and photos of her receiving a proclamation from the town.

Mr. Nuzzi praised “all of the persistence, all of the dedication, all of the effort” Shannon showed to make the flag a reality.

Councilwoman Bridget Flemming said the flag will be available at the Flanders Farmer’s Market this year. Southampton Town Fire Marshal and Flanders Fire Department commissioner Brian Williams invited Shannon to lead the 65th anniversary fire department parade this fall.

Shannon, whose family has lived in Flanders since the early 1900s, said she never doubted whether the flag would be made. She said she imagined for the past six years what it’d be like to see a flag flying over Flanders.

But the flag doesn’t look the way Shannon expected it to.

“No, it’s better,” she said.

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