As we prepare for a fun Independence Day weekend, we wondered whether any of Marco’s several retail dry cleaning shops clean and/or repair American flags.
Turns out at least two of them do. And they do it free of charge.
The relatively new Marco Town Center Cleaners and a long-time Marco business, Dry Cleaners and More, offer the free flag fix service out of a sense of patriotism.
“So far I’ve not been asked, but we will do it for free, we’d pay for it,” said Alper Kasap, co-owner of the Town Center cleaners. “I’m an American,” he said, putting his hand over his heart. Mr. Kasap has lived on Marco for more than 11 years.
Mustafa Aslan, whose Dry Cleaners and More now is at 1793 San Marco Road, has been caring for U.S. flags for years.
“I started offering the service free after 9/11 as a way to show my patriotism and support for America.”
One of Mr. Aslan’s clients came in with a U.S. flag so large it required two workers to repair it.
IF YOUR FLAG IS BEYOND REPAIR
Some of the flags don’t last too long in our breezy, humid, salty-air climate. And flying a tattered flag is a no no. So, what’s a patriot to do?
If your Old Glory is not reparable, the best way to dispose of your flag properly here is to give it to the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Our local VFW Post 6370 has a converted U.S. Postal Service mailbox, the kind you see on street corners here and there, in a proper used flag depository. (See photo) It’s in a corner of the Marco City Hall parking lot, partly hidden by shrubbery from Bald Eagle Drive, but it’s there, often overflowing with deposited flags.
Obviously it’s a former mailbox, but it is brightly painted in red white and blue with stars and stripes. Words in bold lettering identify it as a VFW “Used Flag Depository.” In other words, it’s for flags, not U.S. Mail.
As VFW Commander Dave Gardner Sr. explains:
“We go through the flag box very carefully because we often find mail in there, envelopes that people have deposited, thinking it’s a mail box.”
Commander Gardner takes whatever mail he finds to postal pickup.
The VFW plans to have flag-burning ceremonies at least once a year, like the one it conducted last April at Veterans Community Park.
VFW Post 6370 also sells high quality US flags, made in America, at a competitive price. Contact Commander Gardner. Call 642-4410.
FLYING THE FLAG: FEELS GOOD, IT'S FUN
If you don’t have a flag but have a place to display it, why not? While you’re putting up your new flag, you can think over some of the interesting flag info we gleaned from a definitive Web site, united-states-flag.com.
“It’s proper and encouraged for people to wash their flags if/when they get soiled. Most outdoor flags can be hand-washed with mild laundry detergent.” Better yet, take it to one of the local dry cleaners mentioned above and they’ll clean free.
“Despite the common myth, flags that touch the ground do not need to be destroyed. Allowing a flag to touch the ground, however, is disrespectful to the flag, but accidents do happen, so just try to prevent it from happening again.”
“Although burning is the preferred method it also is acceptable to seal your old flag in a box or bag and bury it. The most important factor is showing respect to the flag during its disposal.”
LINCOLN'S TIMELY WORDS
Abraham Lincoln knew way back then what a lot of Americans are either too naïve or arrogant to understand amid our economic difficulties today.
Lincoln said: “You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
“You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
“You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.”
Knowing that President Obama likes to emulate Mr. Lincoln, we hope somebody lets the 44th president know about these wise words from the 16th.
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