Congress urges Americans to fly flag

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is asking Americans to fly the Stars and Stripes for 30 days in response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Flying the flag shows that "we shall not be daunted," said Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo. "We as Americans remain great and free."

The U.S. House on Thursday approved a resolution asking every U.S. citizen to fly American flags outside homes, businesses, public buildings and churches. The measure's sponsors are Skelton, Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., and the top two House members, Speaker Dennis Hastert and Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.

Mrs. Emerson recalled how, driving to the cemetery for the burial of her late husband, longtime Rep. Bill Emerson, her car passed a veteran waiving a tattered American flag. Emerson died of lung cancer in 1996.

"My children just gripped my hand and said, 'Oh, Mom, look,"' she said. "And that symbolized what's right and what's great about our country."

Many won't need the encouragement. Across the nation, specialty shops, hardware stores, K-Marts and Wal-Marts have been selling out of flags, while just a few blocks from the Capitol, White House tours resumed Wednesday with the estimated 400 visitors each receiving small American flags as they left.

And at the Pentagon, a huge banner of red, white and blue hung near the wall demolished by a hijacked plane in one of the terrorist attacks. It was unfurled for President Bush's visit.

Hastert said that in small towns and big cities alike, by flying Old Glory, "you will be sending a strong signal to millions of people here at home and abroad that the red, white and blue represents freedom and democracy and those ideals will live on."

The measure is pending in the Senate.

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