Of the Baker City Herald

You can thank the Rotary Club for some of the patriotic flourish decorating Baker City in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The City Manager (Gordon Zimmerman) and the City Attorney (Tim Collins) asked us to put the flags up for 30 days, said Robert Somma, who is coordinating the efforts for the organization.

All United States citizens are being urged by lawmakers to fly the American flag outside their homes and businesses as a response to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade center and the Pentagon.

A resolution passed unanimously Sept. 13 by the House of Representatives requested the mass display of Old Glory for 30 days.

As a fund raiser, the Rotary stores and cares for the flags and puts them out during regular national flag holidays throughout the year. Members of the club also install brackets and drill holes in the sidewalks to install pipe stands for the flags.

For this service the club requests a donation of $25 a year from businesses. They install the flags in the morning and take them at night during the holidays.

However, due to the manpower requirements during this 30 day period, the flags will be left in place. Somma said businesses and individuals are asked to bring the flags in at night and during inclement weather.

Not only will this preserve the appearance of the flags but protect them from theft as well.

In fact, as of Monday morning Somma said two of the flags have already been stolen.

One was located in front of the Last Resort Hair Salon on Church and First streets and the other from in front of Oregon Trail Cleaners on Valley.

These flags have already been replaced by Rotary members but anyone with information on the thefts is asked to contact the Baker City Police Department.

Somma said there are five routes to install the flags and it takes two people for each route. Thats 10 members out of a club that has only about 50 active members in it.

Its sometimes hard to come up with the manpower, Somma said.

Somma said he had already had a lot of calls for new installation of flags. We will install the brackets and stands as long as we have the materials and will supply flags as long as we have them. A local business on 10th Street furnishes the pipe stands cut to length from left over materials and several welders in town make the brackets while they have the time and materials.

We dont want anyone in town to not have a flag even if they cant afford the donation. Well furnish a flag as long as we have them, Somma said.

He indicated there was an amazing outpouring of support for the people of the eastern states shaken by the loss of the World Trade Center, the destruction at the Pentagon and the loss of lives in the four hijacked air liners.

If you are interested in having a United States flag installed at your business please call Somma at 524-9604.