Vic Caruana (left)
Korean War veteran Vic Caruana is known throughout coastal North County as “the flag guy.” He helps local businesses maintain their American flags and takes part in flag-raising ceremonies.
On January 31, Caruana was asked to raise the first American flag to be hoisted at the soon-to-open Green Dragon Tavern & Museum in Carlsbad.
The 85-year-old Marine was joined by four of who he called “my boys,” a Marine honor guard from Camp Pendleton. Wanting to be sure the flag was made in the USA, Caruana obtained it from a Philadelphia manufacturer and presented it to the honor guard at 8:00 a.m. sharp.
Under construction for over a year, the 22,000 square-foot Green Dragon Tavern is located on the southeast corner of I-5 at Palomar Airport Road. The two-story building, constructed with red bricks and with large white columns, is reminiscent of the 1700s colonial period; it’s an enhanced version of Boston’s original Green Dragon Tavern.
Established in 1714, the Green Dragon Tavern is credited by historians as being the underground headquarters of the Revolution — where the Tea Party was planned and where Paul Revere started his famous ride.
Carlsbad’s Green Dragon Tavern’s general manager, John Lek, announced that the restaurant, coffee shop, and bar will be opened to the public on February 12. The museum contains many documents from the Revolutionary War period: items from the personal collection of one of the restaurant’s three owners and pieces on loan from the New England Historical Geological Society and the Pilgrim Hall Museum (the oldest museum in the U.S.)
One of the amazing pieces on display is a document signed by Plymouth Colony resident Peregrine White. White is credited with being the first “American,” having been born on the Mayflower's first voyage to Plymouth Rock.
When asked about the choice of locations for a colonial-period museum, seemingly out of place one block from the Pacific Ocean — like a surfing museum in Kansas — Lek said the Green Dragon is the first of its kind on the West Coast. “The establishment will celebrate, remember, and honor early American history and the contributions of our founding Fathers,” he said.
The tavern has a former history teacher on staff who is putting together a colonial period curriculum and will be coordinating field trips for local schools.
When interviewed, retired Marine Caruana said, “Today is not about me, it’s about the flag.” Several other veterans turned out for the invitation-only event.