CHIPLEY -- It has been days since flags last lined downtown streets, their removal a response to criticism about how the flags are flown.
At Tuesday's city council meeting, Chipley City Council heard from Dawn Veit, known locally as "The Flag Lady." She defended her position on posting flags regularly, saying her intentions are well, though displayed flags have fallen.
"When I started the flag project, I wanted to give something to the people. I wanted to give them some pride," Veit said at the City Hall podium in a cracking voice.
Describing a two-year process of launching and sustaining the project, Veit said she raised $8,500 to purchase 140 flags through private sponsorship. She said her family spent countless hours helping her -- mounting the flags in umbrella bases, using everything from water to dirt to mortar to anchor them.
"We spent hundreds of hours -- we spent time and effort and we put them out," she said, adding later, "Maybe the wind blew a flag over and I'd go down the street (to re-erect it)."
However, flags have been more than blown over; according to some residents and City employees, they have obstructed visibility, at times, falling into the roadway.
Though showing admiration for Veit's passionate efforts, council members debated the safety of the flag display. Newly appointed Mayor and military veteran John T. Sasser recommended taller staffs, to which council member Karen Rustin motioned for the purchase of 39 nine-foot staffs. The motion was approved unanimously.
"We don't want you to stop; we're just trying to look at a better solution of putting them out there," Rustin said.
Initially, Veit's comments suggested she would no longer fly the flags along downtown roadways; however, as support was expressed from the council and general public, she retracted the idea.
A handful of audience members commented with other concerns about the display, mainly that of flag etiquette -- how should it be flown, how long can it be flown, what happens if it gets knocked over. However, no one was versed on the legality of such etiquette.
City Attorney Michelle Jordan consistently reminded the council that its interest regarding the display is not the same as that of Veit's or any private resident.
The discussion ended with Jordan recommending the City adopt flag display standards. A workshop is scheduled to review a flag display resolution at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19 at City Hall, 1442 Jackson Ave.
Regarding Veterans Day, Veit said she plans to erect flags on private property -- ensuring that the patriotic holiday would not be celebrated without flags.