Up On the Roof: He Raises the Stars and Stripes Atop TC | Teachers College Columbia University

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Up On the Roof: He Raises the Stars and Stripes Atop TC

Husamedin Kadribegic
Husamedin Kadribegic

Today is Flag Day, a day when the nation celebrates the June 14, 1777, resolution that created an official U.S. flag. So how does the man who each morning raises TC’s American flag – Husamedin Kadribegic (“Hus” to everyone who knows him) – go about that task?

The flag flies high atop the Russell Hall tower. Hus walks up to the fifth floor of Russell Hall, then accesses what he calls “the penthouse,” taking a tight stairway up two more floors, where he opens a hatch and climbs to the roof to the flagpole.  

“I started putting the flag up there when I began working here,” says Hus, who started working at the College in 1993.  “I’m not sure why they asked me to do it, but I’m happy to do it.”

Born in the former Yugoslavia, Hus had a good life there until the death of the country’s longtime leader, Josip Broz Tito, in 1980, when ethnic tensions began to emerge. In 1990, the early stages of violent conflicts lead to Yugoslavia’s dissolution. Hus and his family found refuge in Turkey, after which they made their way to the United States.

“Many people in America don’t understand what it means to lose everything you have, everything you have worked for,” he says.  

“For me, every day is flag day.” — Husamedin Kadribegic

Many people have told Hus they like the flag, so a few years ago he installed reflecting lights on the Tower so that passersby could see the stars and stripes flowing in the night air.

Hus always says he owes Teachers College a ‘big hug’ for giving him a foothold in America and enabling him to put his three children through college.

“For me,” he says, “every day is flag day.” – Robert Florida

Published Wednesday, Jun 14, 2017