Help Me Hank: Flag Flap
If you coax Karen and Bob McKearney, they'll take you thorough their Billerica home and show you the collections they're proudest of, their collection of movie memorabilia,
of teddy bears, their grandchildrenís pictures... all the grandchildrenís pictures... and of course, their all American favorites.
Karen McKearney, Billerica
"This firefighter picture is very important."
But ever since they visited the national Capital in the 80's, there was one other collectible they wanted; one of the flags flown over the U.S. capitol building. They knew you could contact a senator, back then not online of course, and get a flag flown in honor of a special occasion. But nothing was special enough.
Bob McKearney, Billerica
"I always wanted to do it, I just never got around to doing it."
But everything changed on September 11, then they realized what was special enough.
"We wanted to do something, something in memory of them, those who had died."
So they went online and way in advance paid about $100 for six special flags and certificates, some for those grandchildren. They designated the flags be flown over the Capital on the first anniversary of 9-11. Didn't happen.
"Five of the certificates indicated they were flown June 6. Now we received these in July."
Karen knew Bob was not going to be happy.
"I was going to call him at work, I said, ĎOh, Iíd better not do that, Iíll wait until he gets home because he will be furious.í"
So, together they e-mailed the flag office, the senators office and the White House -- the commander in chief himself!
"No one ever responded and we were getting very upset, extremely upset, that nobody cared."
Thatís when they called Help Me Hank.
Well, turns out the flag office was inundated with requests for commemorative flags and at some point the battle to keep up with the patriotic spirit had the office singing the red white and blues.
Finally, the 9-11 anniversary did arrive and soon after, the delivery truck with the correct flags. This time Karen was delighted to call her husband.
"I didnít believe it."
"He didnít believe me!"
Now when you look at the Kearneyís collections -- something new had been added.
"I want it up there all the time... I don't want to take it down."
Now if you're thinking, "how do I get one of those flags?" You can, but so many people are requesting them, it could take a month or two.
For more information:
Frequently Asked Questions
The questions answered below are among the most frequently asked about matters related to the Capitol Complex. You may also wish to read more detailed information about the Capitol's history and its works of art.
How can I obtain a flag that has flown over the Capitol?
A request to have a flag flown over the Capitol should be directed to your representative or either of your senators. Many representatives and senators provide information about this service on their Web sites (at www.house.gov and www.senate.gov, respectively).