Patriotism visible in the cities of Manteca and Ripon are in direct conflict in flying the American Flag over city streets on July 4th.
While Manteca claims it has fewer volunteers to do the job in placing the hundreds of flags it traditionally flies over city streets through its chamber of commerce, its board of directors made its decision this week saying they wanted to protect the older citizens -- Kiwanis Club members -- who would have to face afternoon heat in taking down their flags Saturday afternoon in Manteca. Ripon placed its flags on city streets early Friday morning. They were worried some might get sick due to the pandemic and the summer heat.
Ripon’s flags are set out by members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and they will remain on the streets throughout the weekend from Friday through Sunday in honor of the July 4th holiday. The VFW members recall their brothers falling in combat and nothing would keep them from recognizing that special day on the calendar.
And, they voiced that thought Thursday afternoon at a VFW fireworks booth. Several vets thought they still had a section of Manteca streets to flag. They said they hadn't been told yet of the cancellations of their duties.
The Manteca Chamber of Commerce trustees are planning to place a few flags in the central downtown area to keep people safe in the reported virus spread. Manteca also decided not to place the American Flags on their streets on the recent Memorial Day observance in May while Ripon proudly respected the day through their VFW membership. The decision was made at a chamber board meeting earlier this week.
For years Ripon had only one volunteer putting the flags out on the special holidays.
After receiving a phone call from a Manteca citizen a chamber representative said there was no need for another volunteer in the placing of their flags. VFW members in Ripon said there was nothing that could keep them from putting out the flags in Ripon that would remain through Sunday.
I had personally offered to be in Manteca before dawn on Saturday if I could be of help in placing the flags adding that I was one of those “older” folks they were trying to protect from the virus -- at 83. “We don't need you,” was the response.
The difference in the two communities is that Manteca has placed the assignment through the chamber of commerce and Ripon through veterans who have seen military action having fought for the freedoms enjoyed today in the U.S. in Korea and Vietnam, ‘