World's largest free-flying flag balloon honors America and female veterans

RIDGEFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- The PNC American Flag balloon, the world's largest free-flying American flag, was inflated Wednesday to launch the nation's Independance Day celebrations.

Five female armed service veterans, with a combined 64 years of service in the US Army and Navy, witnessed as the balloon was inflated in New Jersey following Women Veterans Appreciation Day.

The balloon is the largest flying display of the Stars & Stripes in the nation. It was created following the attacks on 9/11 by pilot Barry DiLibero, of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania, and has flown in the New York City area every year since courtesy of the QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Association with PNC Bank.

The balloon is 53 feet fall, 78 feet wide and 29 feet deep, and weighs about 530 pounds. It requires 30 million BTUs of propane to be fully inflated!

This 5-story tall, red, white and blue special shaped hot air balloon launched the nation's Independence Day celebrations and prepares for its upcoming flights at the 37th Annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, in Association with PNC Bank, on July 26-28 in Readington, New Jersey.

With 100 balloons and upwards of 165,000 people expected, it is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America.

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