Stars and gripes: Vets furious over Clinton Hill post office’s tattered flags

Fired up: (From left) World War II vet Jack Vanasco, Rosa Figueroa, and Genaro Baez are among the locals demanding employees at a Clinton Hill post office replace the tattered American and Prisoner of War flags that have been decomposing outside the facility for months.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

These veterans are going to war — with their post office.

Postal workers must replace tattered American and Prisoner of War flags that have been decomposing outside of a Clinton Hill branch for months, according to a band of local vets who called the fraying banners a shame.

“The American flag is all ripped up and in pieces, and the POW flag has just disintegrated,” said 90-year-old Jack Vanasco, the youngest of five brothers from Kings County, four of whom served in World War II. “This is a disgrace for Brooklyn.”

The men’s crew includes other veterans and locals who regularly congregate on Myrtle Avenue between Kent Avenue and Taaffe Place, where Vanasco and his brother Roy famously ran an appliance-repair shop for 60 years across the street from the offending branch at 609 Myrtle Ave. The residents first noticed the ragged flags about three months ago, but post-office employees have since largely ignored the group’s requests to replace them, Vanasco said.

“They just let it go. They don’t care about the flags,” he said.

And the servicemen aren’t the only ones miffed by the pathetic patriotic display, according to the vet, who said passersby and even motorists stop to snap pictures of the deteriorating banners.

Vanasco reported the issue to employees at Downtown’s larger Cadman Plaza Post Office in addition to workers at his local branch, and even called the service’s headquarters in Washington, DC, but claimed his alerts spurred little action.

“They just took my name, that’s all,” he said. “But it’s getting worse and worse, and now the POW flag is just a hanging piece of tissue.”

When contacted by this newspaper, a postal service spokesman said that Myrtle Avenue branch employees logged the complaints about the banners and that the American and Prisoner of War flags are set to be replaced in the coming days.

“The United States Postal Service is proud to display the American and POW flags in front of our facilities,” said Xavier Hernandez. “It apologizes that the customer felt that staff was dismissive, and has confirmed that those flags should be replaced before the end of the week.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Ragged: Veterans and other locals called the fraying American flag hanging outside a Clinton Hill post office a disgrace.
Photo by Caleb Caldwell

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