The Manteca Chamber of Commerce is taking hits on social media by people angry that the business organization did not place 2,400 flags along Manteca key thoroughfares as they have for the past 19 Memorial Days.
The reason for the flags not going out is simple. The chamber decided to protect the integrity of the flags by having them dry cleaned. They raised $60,000 to acquire the flags in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and have been placing them along streets more than 190 times for major holidays as well as processions to honor the fallen.
Chamber Executive Director Joann Beattie said social distancing protocols imposed to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of a work party needed to reattach the flags to the 2,400 flag poles.
And while those protocols have been eased, many of the chamber members that are small business owners or work for small businesses have been scrambling to get what they need in place to reopen so they can resume making a living.
Two days have been set aside on Thursday, June 18, and Friday, June 19, to put the flags and poles back together in the parking lot at Yosemite Avenue and Main Street.
That means the flags will not be up on Flag Day on June 14.
“Our goal is to have them back out on the Fourth of July,” Beattie said.
To make that happen the chamber needs volunteers — especially those with cordless screwdrivers — on June 18 or June 19 to help. Those that would like to help to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Beattie said volunteers will be social distanced with hopefully pop up tents to shade against the sun.
The chamber — with Joe Pellegrino at the helm — came up with the flag program as a response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. In less than six weeks, the chamber had raised more than $60,000 to purchase the flags and poles. Mountain Valley Express stepped up and donated a truck trailer for storage. Perez & Son worked on the poles, Monogram Magic embroidered the names of donors and those who flags were purchased to honor and Luna Painting varnished the poles.
The flags, weather permitting, are placed along Manteca streets nine times a year. The days are Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriot Day (Sept. 11), and Veterans Day.
Volunteers are needed to help place flags on the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Sept. 7, and Sept. 11. To volunteer, call the chamber at 823-7229.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com