Austinites prepare for 4th of July celebrations


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and Photojournalist DENNIS THOMAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 1:52 PM

AUSTIN -- To Austin's oldest living World War II veteran, the 4th of July simply means one thing.

"Another happy day,"' said Richard Overton. "And we're glad to be living that day," the 107-year old added. 

For most Americans, there's just something special about those Stars and Stripes.

"We can all disagree about politics or Republicans and Democrats and all that kind of stuff, but virtually no one disagrees about the emotions attached to the flag," said Harvey Kronberg, owner of Austin Flag and Flagpole.

That sentiment may be the reason customers at Old Navy in the Mueller Shopping Center can't keep their hands off flag paraphernalia. Patriotic T-shirts are flying off the shelves.

"We do it all year round, but this is the one day where we can sort of collectively come together as a community and show our spirit and community feeling. And it feels good," said Nwando Diallo, who purchased shirts Wednesday.

And people aren't just stocking up on shirts. July 3rd is one of the busiest days of the year at Austin Flag and Flagpole. Retail business nearly triples the week before the 4th of July.

Kronberg says even more people are buying flags this year compared to previous years.

"As the soldiers are coming back I think that families are begin reunited, there is a lot of, a lot more feeling and wanting to show the colors," explained Kronberg.

Billy Middlebrook's grandfathers are both veterans. He and his dad are purchasing eight flags to fly high on the Fourth.

"I love this country. And freedom isn't free. Greatest country on earth," said Middlebrook.

In North Austin, nearly every front yard on Rockwood Lane dons one American flag.

Pete Peterson goes the extra mile. His entire yard is filled with flags. 

"To show that we are Americans and we believe in our country and we love it," said Peterson.

Thanks to a new measure passed by the State Legislature this summer, the American flag isn't the only one you'll see flown this 4th of July. The Honor and Remember flag will also be flown on most buildings at half staff, honoring soldiers who died serving their country.

"It's going to be on all state buildings for flag holidays and people can buy them individually. The money goes to finance flags that are presented to families of fallen soldiers," Kronberg said.

Starting a new tradition and giving Americans another way to show their pride this Independence Day.