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Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado

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September 13, 2001

The Pueblo Chieftain Online

Flags waving for air-attack victims

The Pueblo Chieftain

Pueblo proudly showed more of its patriotic side Wednesday as a large number of citizens and businesses hung Old Glory in honor of the people who lost their lives in Tuesday's terrorist attack.

Some, like manager Cari Sandusky of the P.S. I Love You store, 111 Lincoln Ave., said they also are planning a special Friday display to honor the anthem and its 19th century composer.

Francis Scott Key, while inspired by the sight of the flag during a nighttime sea battle on Sept. 14, 1814, wrote the anthem's words on the back of an envelope.

The idea of honoring Key's contribution on a national "Star-Spangled Banner Day” is gaining grass-roots support nationwide.

Gracie Clementi and Dr. Steve Giannetto, owners of the P.S. I Love You, on Wednesday asked Sandusky to create a flag display to help quiet the shock over the terrorist attacks on Manhattan's twin-tower World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the plane that rammed into ground near a Pennsylvania strip mine.

"We were really saddened about what happened and we just want to show people that even though something bad has happened - they shouldn't give up hope," Sandusky said.

"We still have a strong country. We just want to show people that we care and how much sympathy we have for the families and people in crisis,” she said.

Sandusky said store employees also were giving small personal flags to customers as a way of extending their concern.

The gestures were well received.

"A lot of people are complimenting us, telling us the flags are very nice. We've had people honk when they come by, too,” said Sandusky.

Downtown, Hannah Rush of Rush's Pueblo Lumber Co., 416 W. Second St., said the business was flying its usual three flags, but at half-staff out of respect for the national crisis.

"We always try to do that for the veterans, to show our patriotism,” she said.

Friday, though, will be a day that people can bring their children to see and read about an unusual set of U.S. historic flags that Rush's husband, David Rush, has collected to show how today's flag evolved.

"My husband spent months researching it all at the library, reading about it and printing it out. He had plaques made that explain when they were put in existence, how many stars they have and so on,” she said.

At the Pueblo Convention Center, U.S. flags always are a focus of the Heroes Plaza, which honors Pueblo's four Medal of Honor recipients.

Wednesday, they too were at half-staff.

More flags will be added Friday, said general manager Larry Ambrose.

Ambrose said the larger display is being created as part of Friday's observance of the national anthem and to honor USS Savannah veterans attending a reunion there.

At midafternoon, Doug Sterner, chairman of the Colorado State Board of Veterans Affairs, said he'd just returned from a Denver board meeting. Along the way, he said he was uplifted by the sight of people waving flags, motorists displaying flags from their vehicles and a radio station dedicating its airtime to a patriotic discussion.

He called the heightened patriotism and show of the flag Wednesday as the "only good thing to come out” of Tuesday's tragedy.

Sterner said the flag's symbolism cannot be overemphasized and encouraged Puebloans to fly their flags, especially on Friday.

"This red, white and blue flag represents black, brown, red, yellow, white - all the races and creeds of people who claim to be American.

"The term ‘fabric of the flag’ is repeatedly used when people talk about it. The fabric of the flag is the fabric of the American soul. And that's why it's so important,” said Sterner.

©1996-2000 The pueblo Chieftain Online



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