Pam Lombardo is leaving a Gulfport school supply store with the next closest thing she could get to a cloth American flag. The one she found is made of poster board and she also buys other decorations. "I work at a preschool and I wanna put some up and also for our church and just to be supportive. Were you wanting some flags? Yes. You've been shopping for flags? Everywhere and they are not to be found," says Lombardo.
Businesses that sell flags quickly began selling out the day of the terrorist attacks. Store employee Freddie Sanderson says, "A lot of people came in right before 6:00. Wednesday was tremendous, they were in all day long and by Thursday we were completely out of flags and flag poles and your little hand held flags and things and although all that is on order, we're just waitin' for it all to come in." So are the customers. In the meantime, they're displaying other items. "This is a good substitute here, you can put it on your back window of your vehicle. Is that what you're gonna do with that one? Yes, exactly, you put a suction hook right there and attach it to your back window and display your colors," says Wade resident Steven Vehos. "Everybody's making their own flags or putting for door decorations, hanging around the tree trunks and things like that," Sanderson says.
Three ladies stopped in another Gulfport store looking for flags.They were happy to get whatever they could that's red, white and blue, and a pair of colorful beads will do just fine. "We're proud of 'em and we're united as a country," says one. Until new flag shipments arrive, businesses are trying to keep other patriotic merchandise on hand. Store employee Rhonda Sharpston says, "Outta flags but we got plenty of flag beads. We got some that light up, big flags, small flags, bout everything else is gone." Sharpston says that's a sign that people care and want to show their patriotism.
Businesses say it will be at least mid-week before new flag shipments arrive.