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Restoring Beauty to American Flags

Kathleen McConahay, the daughter of a WWII veteran, repairs and restores American flags. “There really isn’t any reason to fly a frayed flag,” she shares. “When there’s a new one up, though, there’s nothing prettier than a brand new flag flying.”

Video Transcript

Kathleen McConahay: See what the hem’s like. As you can see, it’s gotten knotted. I mean, look what the wind did to this flag, and it’s just amazing to me. 

Repairing American flags. Bloomington, Indiana. Kathleen McConahay.

My name is Kathleen McConahay, and I sell and repair the flags. 

Mother Nature is so powerful. It will rot the flag because these flags don’t come down. They’re 20 by 30. No one’s taking them down every day and putting them back up. So they’re out in the rain. They’re out in the icy snow. The dirt in the air acts like little saws, and they will cut the material, so that’s how they rot. 

Kathleen personally picks up and delivers flags for repair.

Kathleen: Kathleen, the flag lady. 

Receptionist (on the phone): Kathleen, the flag lady, is here.

Kathleen: We are in the front of The Herald-Times, which is our local newspaper here in Bloomington, Indiana. Facing the flag, the U.S. flag is always on the left — kind of where your heart is, you know if you put your hand over your heart? You can see the dam-, you see it starting to emerge above the light up here.

Passenger: Yeah. Uh-huh (affirmative). 

Katheleen: The top part is starting to fray, so that’ll probably come down fairly soon, and I’ll be repairing it.

My dad was in World War II. My mother’s dad was also in World War II. He was there, and he was in the Battle of the Bulge, and actually, he was a prisoner of war. When you think about the sacrifices people make for our country, it really blows your mind. I can’t imagine being in a foxhole or being in a battle where, really, your life is on the line. And, you know, how many of us ever, ever go through something like that? And thanks to them, we don’t have to.

There really isn’t any reason to fly a frayed flag. You really should take it down and just either get a new flag or cut off that frayed edge and hem it. You can wash it in your washing machine and dry it in your dryer because dirt is its number one enemy. When there’s a new one up, though, there’s nothing prettier than a brand new flag flying.

Embrace freedom.

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