Oh say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave over Rego Park?
The Family Fruit Farm grocery store at 94-01 63 Drive had featured the flags of 22 different countries flying above its awning, but not until recently have two American flags joined the row of nations.
The flags, nestled between the symbols of Russia and Mexico, are slightly smaller than the other banners. But they fly front and center, directly facing the intersection of 63rd Drive and Booth Street for all to see.
The previous lack of Old Glory had upset a nearby shop owner as well as Vietnam War veteran and Rego Park resident George Gardner, who called the lack of the American flag “ridiculous” and “astonishing,” when he called the Chronicle to complain about it in October.
Andy Lee, a manager at the Family Fruit Farm, refused to comment on Thursday regarding when the flags were put up above the awning or who actually provided the two flags to the store.
Lee, when previously interviewed by the Chronicle in October over the United States’ omission from the row of flags, said that he was unaware that Old Glory was not present. He also said that he would be happy to put up a flag if one were donated to the grocery store.
“If someone wants to bring a flag here and we have space for it, I’ll put it up there,” Lee said.
Gardner says he was not involved in getting the two American flags placed on top of the store and does not know who is responsible.
He understands that lack of the banners in the first place may have just been an oversight, but the fact that the American flags now fly is “refreshing” to the military veteran.
“I can’t take credit for it; I have no idea who did it. It looks like [the store owner] might have put them up, though,” Gardner said. “I had a big smile on my face when I saw it last week. The fact that they have two flags up now, it’s very respectful.”
Gardner also believes that the timing of the flags being placed atop the store, right around the Veterans Day holiday, could not have been better, and he applauds the store for doing so.
“I thought it was a very nice gesture, especially around Veterans Day,” he said. “Maybe I will walk in one of these days and thank them for putting the flags up there.”