Recently,I received a not-unexpected call that the flag box at Veteran’s Park was full to overflowing. This after only 16 days since the last trip I made to empty it. I arrived to find the top door overflowing and jammed, and the bottom also filled. I filled two large bags with the contents, which numbered 89 U.S. flags of various sizes, ranging from 8X12 stick flags to an 8’ X 12’ commercial flag.
During the same time period my Marco Island VFW Post #6370 sold 9 U.S. flags. That is almost a 10 to one ratio of flags returned to flags sold by us. What are we doing wrong? We and others, including Don Farmer and lovely Chris Curle, columnists for the Marco Eagle, have reminded people of our service of providing flags and how we dispose of them according to tradition.
The Marco VFW Post provides American-made (as in Kansas City) flags to the residents of the island. These flags are the highest quality and our prices are about 60 percent of the same flag at a box store, and about 40 percent of the price from a company such as Annin in New Jersey. Still, we sell one for 10? Don’t folks like to get a good buy, and also get the flag delivered free here on Marco?
Maybe you say, “What do these guys who sit around the bar and tell war stories do with this money?” Well, we don’t have a bar, or a building, either, as we live on Marco Island with one of the highest property values in the country.
We are all volunteers and are in the VFW to help our brothers-in arms, whom we call our “Comrades,” when they are in need. We send thousands of dollars each year from our service fund, a fund charged by our charter to be used only for VFW causes.
There are thousands of veterans in our country who can no longer care for themselves and have no one else to help them. The Veteran’s Administration, along with money sent from the service fund of our Post 6370 and other posts, give these people a place to live in comfort, dignity and the companionship of their comrades for the rest or their lives. Our “poppy sale” collections also go into this protected fund. No money from our flag sales and poppy sale go to the Post funds.
I spend at least 60 hours a month and put about 200 miles on my car so that Marco Islanders will fly the symbol of our great and free country, the Stars and Stripes. We believe in our country and spent part of our lives defending it. And we believe in the flag and want you folks to fly it proudly. We carefully store, ship and ensure the careful retirement of your flags in accordance with the best practices. I don’t want this article to keep you from using our flag boxes, as your discarded flags need the service we provide. We hope you’ll return the favor, save yourself some money, and buy our fine flags. You can be assured that your contribution to our cause will be greatly appreciated.
You can call me for a flag or for more information at (239) 642-4410.
And, the local Radio Shack has offered to make our American Flags available at our low pricing, without any mark-up. You can get the City, USA and POW flags there, at 1000 No. Collier Blvd., across from Town Center Mall.