Signs of patriotism on increase |

Signs of patriotism on increase

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – John Fetzko said it was a group decision to display several American flags at the Glenwood Automotive Group’s dealership on Glen Avenue.

“A few people at the dealership are really opposed to this war,” said Fetzko, the general sales manager. “But all of us stand behind our troops and our flag.”

Glenwood Automotive Group is one of just a handful of area businesses publicly displaying the American flag. Some flags are up year-round, like the American and Colorado flags that fly over the Hotel Colorado or the flags that greet motorists at the Glenwood Amoco just off the Glenwood I-70 exit. During this wartime, the flag is taking on many different meanings for the business people choosing to fly it.

At Tim’s Tools in Rifle, it’s to show support for the United States. The hardware store has three large flags hanging on its storefront, with a big sign that says, “We Support Our Troops.”

“We’re showing our support of the war and support of the U.S.,” said Ginny McDonald of Tim’s Tools. “This was important for us to do since the owner, Poke Stiers, is a 25-year Marine veteran.”

McDonald said the store has received “a lot of positive comments about the flags. It’s been really good.”

And more signs are appearing around Rifle, too. Yellow ribbons tied around light posts line a good portion of Railroad Avenue, Rifle’s main drag.

At Glenwood Ford over by the Glenwood Springs Mall, it’s stars and stripes as far as the eye can see. Every car and truck for sale on the lot has an American flag attached to its antenna.

Bruce Klein, sales manager at Glenwood Springs Ford, said the flags show the dealership is “supporting our troops. We all know someone who is there, so it’s personal,” he said.

“We’re Americans, and by showing the flag, we’re showing our support. That’s why we’re doing it,” he said. “We fly the flag two or three times a year, for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, and so we thought right now was a good time to show some good patriotic spirit.

“Nobody likes war,” Klein added. “But once we’re in, we gotta go 100 percent.”

In south Glenwood Springs, Nelson’s Auto Body has a permanent flagpole where a big American flag flies – and flew even before the war broke out.

“The flag means patriotism and pride,” said Nelson’s David Smith.

“That’s what this country stands for,” said Greg Coyne, standing in the body shop’s lobby.

“Our flag is always up,” Smith said. “We have a light on it every night.”

At Mountain Pest Control, a bit further down Highway 82, an American flag hangs near the office’s front door.

Becky Harvey and Joyce Derby work in the front office. They said the flag has been up since 9-11.

“We haven’t taken it down since then,” Harvey said. “It’s always up.”

Derby said she heard that flag sales around the country are starting to increase.

“I’ve been noticing flags more and more in my neighborhood,” said Harvey. “When we go on walks, we notice who’s put up the latest flag.”

Throughout Glenwood, there aren’t many flags besides the ones that fly at government buildings, banks and schools. In the Park West neighborhood, there’s roughly one flag for every eight or nine houses. Other parts of Glenwood have even fewer.

A sign at a house near Veltus Park that said, “War? Think About It,” is gone.

Another sign, “No More Blood for Oil,” that’s come and gone at a New Castle home, is back in the yard.

Blake Avenue goes for blocks without a flag, and with just one house with a red, white and blue “No Iraq War!” sign. A few blocks further, there are four houses with four American flags.

In downtown Glenwood Springs, both the Book Train bookstore and Martha’s Vineyard gallery have pro-peace signs on their store windows.

Adam Sippola and Chris Heinz work at the Book Train and put up a peace window display about a week and a half before the war began on March 19. It includes a map of the world, and quotes from world leaders, including former U.S. presidents, commenting about war and peace.

“My favorite is the one about the Golden Rule,” said Sippola, of the sheet of paper taped to the window showing that religions – Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and others – all share a version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Mary Brickner, manager of the Book Train, said the store has received about 10 compliments on the display and one complaint.

“We wanted to do something,” she said. “It’s our way of showing our opinion of what’s going on in the world.”

Oleta “Mexi” Corry of Martha’s Vineyard gallery said her husband, Randy, made the big white peace sign displayed in the gallery’s window. The Corrys have another peace sign at home that lights up at night.

“This shows our support for mankind,” Corry said of the sign in the shop. “You know, we’re all in this together, and it’s a pretty small world. I’m not saying Saddam isn’t a bad guy. He is. But the means don’t justify the ends. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Perhaps some of the reason there isn’t yet an avalanche of stars and stripes or other symbols of peace and support appearing in neighborhoods and businesses is that many people have conflicting feelings about the war.

Last week in Rifle, for example, a woman driving a small white car had a “No War” sign taped on one of her car’s side windows, with an American flag alongside it.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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