LEBANON, Mo. (AP) -- Besides the city water tower, the large American flag waiving high on a pole is one of the most visible symbols for this south central Missouri town.
But showing the community's patriotism to travelers along Interstate 44 has proven to be a costly gesture for the city of Lebanon.
Since a welcome sign and flagpole were constructed in September, the flag has been replaced four times, according to City Administrator Henry Luxem.
The problem: the flags keep tearing.
The original 30-by-60-foot flag was made of nylon and cost the city $940. When that flag tore, the city replaced it with a polyester flag costing $1,340. But that flag had "tearing issues" too, Luxem said.
So another replacement was ordered -- this time a polyester flag that was made with cross-stitching, zigzag stitching and a sewn-in mesh netting. The cost: $1,800. It was supposed to be the Titanic of flags.
But by the time Luxem presented his update about the flags during a recent City Council meeting, the flag that was supposed to be the most durable already had torn.
"Incredibly, after flying the newest $1,800 flag for less than a week, we had to remove it from service today due to tearing," Luxem wrote in an e-mail to The Lebanon Daily Record prior to the May 24 council meeting. "The manufacturer, CF Flags, of Huntsville, Ala., states that in their history since 1898, they have never seen this type of damage before."
The company promised to expedite the manufacturing and shipping of a new flag to the city. This time, there will be no charge.
In the meantime, Luxem said the city now has a surplus flag to fly.
Information from: The Lebanon Daily Record: http://www.lebanondailyrecord.com
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