Jason Brooke knows flags. As owner of Carolina Flag & Banner on Ashley River Road, he sees an uptick in flag sales every year from Memorial Day to Independence Day, a time frame that includes the less celebrated Flag Day.
"It's kind of a quiet holiday for most because it's not a day off from work," Brooke, 40, said. "But believe it or not, there are still people coming in buying flags."
Flag Day, which is Sunday, is not only a boon for Brooke's business but also a day to consider the symbolic significance of the U.S. flag.
Charleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 445 Commander Elmer Feeser, 68, said he gained a new appreciation for the flag as a symbol of freedom after returning from the Bay of Pigs. Since that time, he said, he's seen changes in the way the flag is treated over the years.
"I retired in 1980," he said, "and the American flag was pretty much respected."
For many, Flag Day is as much a day to fly the flag as it is to dispose of old ones. Tom Conrey, past post commander of the American Legion at 968 Folly Road, said his group will ceremonially burn the community's old flags at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
"Fading and torn flags are the two most common things," Conrey said. "When they don't look nice and clean and presentable, they should be disposed of."
Carolina Flag & Banner also offers free flag disposal year-round, although owner Brooke employs an alternative method: unstitching stars and stripes until the flag is unrecognizable.
For longer outdoor flag life, Brooke recommends buying a polyester model. Philosophically, he sees the U.S. flag as an important emblem.
"To display the flag or fly the flag means that you believe in whatever that is, whatever principle that is," Brooke said. "You're saying ... that you agree with something or that there's a principle that you believe in."