Keyes Avenue flags: “We live in a great country”

WWNY Keyes Avenue flags: “We live in a great country”

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s a quiet tradition in Watertown: for at least 10 years, the 100 block of Keyes Avenue has been decked out each summer in American flags.

They’re back this year, and up for all to see until Labor Day.

The flags - just shy of a dozen - hang from city lamp posts.

They’re put up and taken down each year by the folks at D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, which sits square in the middle of the block.

“We had a neighbor that put the flags up for a couple of years. When he moved out of the neighborhood, he offered them to us,” Francee Calarco explained to a reporter. “And we decided we wanted to continue the tradition.”

That was at least 10 years ago. Now, every Memorial Day, Francee, her father Don, and Larry Bisig, a long time employee of the funeral home, get out the ladder and the flags.

Larry does the climbing.

He says the flags sometimes get wrapped up or caught on the points of the flag poles, but truth to tell, the hardest part of the job is making sure you don’t fall off the ladder.

Putting up the flags? “It’s a real joy to do,” he said.

Larry walks Rosie, the funeral home’s dog and mascot, a lot of mornings, “and on my way back down through often times I’ll just stop and look at the flags.”

And what do you think? a reporter asked.

“I think we live in a great country. "

That said, the flags are not intended as a heavy message. They’re supposed to be something to smile at, feel good about.

It works.

“People that come to calling hours, people that drive up and down the street, we’ll be out front mowing the lawn and somebody’ll stop and say how much they love the flags,” Francee said.

One other thing - there is no political point being made on Keyes Avenue.

“No. We’ve done it for so long and we just feel like, we’re just proud to live in the United States,” Francee said.

“We just feel it shows our pride and our spirit.'

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