The owner of the Amp & Guitar Wellness Center in Brooklyn is a very good friend of mine. His name is Jeff and he is a terrific guy. He is one of those rare business men who would rather make less money and do the right thing than cheat a customer. To me that is what America is supposed to be all about.
Six days per week Jeff, or one of his staff, pulls up the gates and opens the charming little music shop that is hidden away in a cozy corner of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn; a tiny neighborhood filled with a mix of blue collar workers and six figure city folk. Every day it’s the same thing; gates up, alarm off, and if the sky is clear the flag is raised in front of the shop. The American flag, that is. Jeff served his nation in the Army and now he pays his respect to his nation by presenting the flag each day.
Windsor Terrace is an ethnically diverse neighborhood, but it has not always been so. Until recently Windsor Terrace was primarily working class white; home to more that it’s share of police, firefighters and sanitation workers. Republicans. Yellow ribbon “support the troops” types. To get a feel for the old world Windsor Terrace just pay a visit to Farrell’s bar on Prospect Park West, any weekday, at 8:00, AM! Yep, even early in the morning you will see the shift workers unwinding in the only bar in the area that is open so early. And to answer your question…no, they don’t serve breakfast…just beer, and only one kind of beer, Bud…and of course the standard hard liquors. Don’t expect to get a Margarita there either! Farrell’s is an American bar! (Actually…they may serve Margaritas, but I bet you’ll get a lot of funny looks if you order one!)
Peruse the neighborhood on any hard core American holiday and you will see more American flags than you can count. Homes and businesses alike all pay host to that star spangled banner. Windsor Terrace residence sure love their country and they show their support for their nation by hanging that American flag out every chance they get.
So I was in my friend Jeff’s shop a few weeks back while he was drilling holes in the bricks in front of his shop. He was installing a new mount for his brand new American flag. You see the old one was getting a bit tattered so Jeff went out and bought a brand new American flag, complete with poll, mounting kit and a plastic eagle that sits atop the flag pole. The entire scene was like a living Norman Rockwell painting. A hard working American small business owner mounting an American flag in front of his small business in an American neighborhood filled with proud Americans. There was only one problem with this scene…the American flag that was about to be mounted had a little tag on it. Written on that tag…”MADE IN CHINA”!
I am not sure why I am writing about this or how I feel about this. But one thing hit me about seeing an American flag that was made in another nation…I wondered why in the world anybody would ever manufacture the flags of nations other than their own? I wondered what would lead to the need for Americans to import their own flag. I am not sure why I am disturbed by this, but I am. I can not exactly make a statement here other to say there is something very unsettling about living in a nation where we have to import our own flag!
I wonder how many of those gung ho American patriots in Windsor Terrace, or around America for that matter, have imported American flags. I wonder how many of those who do…realize it. And I wonder how many of those who realize it…care. Think about it.