On a flag-lined street in Bellaire, Ron Kronberg has provided U.S. flags for space missions and giant flags for car dealerships. He sells small flags for school events and front porch flags that are given as housewarming gifts. Kronberg says the flag-buying season used to happen just before July 4, but since 9/11 he's seen business pick up in the week before Memorial Day.
"Flags are the one thread that holds every citizen of this country together, and flying the U.S. flag properly, in a good repair, is a compliment to our country and the citizens of our country."
And once customers make their purchase, they usually have questions about flag etiquette — when it's proper to fly the flag and how to fly it. Flags were once lowered at sunset, but Kronberg says changes were made to the U.S. Flag Code.
"President Ford passed a ruling, since it was a 24-hour government, that flags could be flown 24-hours as long as they're illuminated and kept in good repair."
Kronberg says he also tries to clear up misconceptions about flying the flag. One in particular is that the U.S. flag must always fly higher than other flags. But rules state that when a group of flagpoles are of the same height:
"Then the U.S. flag goes on the left from the most viewed direction, but it does not have to be taller than the other flags. It needs to be of equal height and equal size of the other flags. In other words, you wouldn't want a larger Texas flag flying next to a U.S. flag. They need to be the same size."
And when it comes to flying the flag, Kronberg says Texans aren't shy about it.
"Well, we had one day, right before Christmas, a man came in in a Rolls-Royce and wanted to buy pappy a flagpole for his ranch. And it turned out he bought an 80-foot flagpole which is a very large flagpole. Obviously, we couldn't get it in his Rolls-Royce, so we gave him the flag and the ornament and said put that under the tree. And then the next day we came out and put up an 80-foot flagpole at his ranch."
For buyers who don't want a flag made outside the country, Kronberg says there are many companies in the U.S. that still manufacture flags.