Is foreign flagpole good for Old Glory?

COPAKE—Where is that good old-fashioned American know-how when you need it?

Would you believe China?

This Land of Rural Charm is a patriotic place. American flags are flown at Town Hall daily and on national holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day, the town breaks out its special-occasion stash of about 75, 3-foot-by-5-foot American flags, which are flown from poles lining the main hamlet streets: Main and Church streets; Center Hill, Mountain View and Farm roads.

The row of Stars and Stripes inspires a sense of pride among many who see them flying unfettered, gracefully rippling on the breeze.

But in Copake, known for its legendary east “blow” off the Taconics and across the flats, that gentle breeze can be more like a hurricane force wind that sends the flags into twisted, tangled tailspins.

It leaves the country’s red, white and blue banner disheveled and wrapped around its pole as if clinging for dear life.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the winds actually took off with two of the flags and their poles, whisking them away somewhere never to be seen again, Copake Supervisor Jeff Nayer told the Town Board at its June 8 meeting.

In an effort to straighten out the problem, the supervisor did some research and endeavored to purchase some new 6-foot-long metal “tangle-free spinning flag poles.” Longer than the old wooden poles, the new poles come with a gold-colored ball on top and have rings that allow the flag to swing with the wind, and not become hopelessly snarled.

The supervisor, who has a reputation for shopping around, said he made 10 calls to a list of companies across the country that carry US flags and accessories, only to find that none of them sell a model of this newfangled flagpole that is manufactured in the US—they are all made in China.

Mr. Nayer, who makes no bones about searching for the best price, said when he replaces any of the town’s flags, he is willing to spend the extra couple of dollars it costs to get flags made in America. “It just doesn’t sit well with me to have an American flag made in China,” he said by phone this week.

So in an effort to have Copake’s made-in-America American flags wave freely, Mr. Nayer said he had no choice but to spent $883.25 for 85 of the non-American-made tangle-free poles from the US Flag Store in Kansas City, MO, with free-shipping included. The money will come out of the “celebration” budget line.

Councilman Stanley “Stosh” Gansowski said at the meeting he would like to see the flags remain up yearround.

Supervisor Nayer didn’t think it was a good idea, saying leaving the flags out in the weather all the time would damage them and necessitate that they be replaced every year at a cost of between $500 and $1,000.

He also said the flags would not have the same impact if left out all the time: “People would take them for granted.”

To contact Diane Valden email

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