One U.S. veteran started his own flag business and hands out mini American flags on the street to anyone that will help his cause.
Every day Philip Myers stands on the sidewalk in front of the Ferry Building with a small bouquet of mini American flags in his hand. As the traffic lights change from green to yellow to red, he watches the pedestrians and cars shuffle past him on their daily routines. Myers keeps warm with his military-issue hat and puffy parka with a camouflage design. Along with the flags, he keeps his veteran ID card with him and a small sign that reads, “Thank you for remembering disabled veterans” next to a little donation cup.
Myers said he calls this the flag business, although it’s not a business at all, “It’s more of a lifeline… (for) people who like myself, who have been turned down for their pension.” He joined the Army in 1969, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Unfortunately, before Myers saw any Vietnam battlefield, he suffered a mental break that left him completely unable to fulfill his military contract.
The mental disability broke Myers heart. He called it a gift to be able to serve this country and a tragedy to have that all taken away. He never saw it coming. As time passed the Army vet met other San Francisco veterans who handed out the mini American flags in exchange for donations and to help spread awareness about their own experiences.
Now 61-years-old, Philip has been camped on the California streets for over 25 years with his handful of American flags. He never ended up receiving a pension for his one year in the service, but says he is still fighting for one. He only buys “Made in the USA” 8-inch American flags from a near-by party supply store and on a good day will collect enough funds to buy a couple dozen more. Myers will even give away his flags for nothing in exchange, as long as the new flag owner understands exactly what the flag represents.
For Myers, the flags have never been about money. “It’s a symbol of freedom and liberty and it’s a symbol of America… everybody coming together. When I see the flag… there is nothing I love more than the United States of America.”
Credit: SF Gate