That's why it was especially upsetting to learn that many American flags bought by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) could not make the same claim.
Until last month, when under new rules, all U.S. flags purchased by the DoD must be 100% sourced and produced in the U.S., which means entirely made in America. The ruling was part of the 2014 omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
We raved that is was About Time and wondered what took them so long?
It should be noted that this ruling only applies to military-purchased US flags. Private citizens are not bound by the regulation. And, it is increasingly difficult to find USA-made items, much less an American flag.
Luckily, Annin Flagmakers, calls itself "the oldest and largest flag manufacturer in the United States since 1847." Its corporate headquarters are located in our native NJ.
We have proudly displayed Annin-made flags on our VA front porch for years. The most recent was purchased at a local Walmart.
So far, all is good.
Except that when we went to take the flag down last month, as we do in windy weather, we noticed that stitches were unraveling along the center pole. I emailed Annin's Customer Service and received a reply which stated in part:
There is no way to predict accurately the life of an outdoor flag, regardless of the fabric used in manufacture. Our Nyl-Glo flags usually last longer than those of Bulldog (heavyweight cotton) bunting. Tough-Tex (2-ply spun polyester) flags generally are the longest wearing. Just how long, however, depends on many factors.
The U.S. Government generally expects a cotton or nylon flag to last approximately 90 days based on daily usage from sunrise to sunset, but not during periods of inclement weather. Even if your flag was displayed sunrise to sunset you have close to 6 months of flag life.While this was a reasonable response, this appeared to be a manufacturing vs. weather-related issue. Another email was sent to explain that the flag was never left out in inclement weather and, more importantly, was otherwise undamaged (no frays, rips or tears).
The Customer Service representative requested photos, which I provided via email:
Within a short time, a reply email was received:
I have shared your pictures with our Walmart rep and a replacement will be sent to you. Please reply with your mailing address for the shipment. Thank you for your patience concerning this issue.It arrived via UPS priority mail recently. Note the message to check the sticking first.
It's now proudly displayed on the front porch except, of course, during windy or inclement weather. As for the damaged flag, while I'm no seamstress, I'll undertake repairs and it will fly again.
Our thanks to Annin Flagmakers, a USA company that stands behind its product.
Has anyone else had a similar experience contacting a company's customer service?