The flag honoring the First Responders of 9/11 will go up and it will be the tallest American flag in the World. I'm writing this from my hotel room in New York City where I had lunch on Tuesday, June 5 with Mayor Rudy Giuliani. We discussed the First Responders of 9/11, he is totally supportive of the flag, and I will invite him to speak at the flag-raising.
The flag might not go up in Lake Park, FL but it will go up somewhere nearby and soon. I will give the town commission of Lake Park one more chance to understand what this flag will mean to Americans and the World, but I'm confident that other local municipalities would be honored to be the home of such a tribute to our First Responders who willingly gave their lives to save other Americans. I firmly believe that a majority of Lake Park residents want the flag to be in their community. As happens all too often, the vocal few are mistaken for the silent majority and these “professional naysayers” got the ear of the Lake Park town commission.
I have spoken with elected officials in other towns and cities in Palm Beach and Martin County who are very positive about being the home of this memorial flag. Although I would l prefer to keep the flag in Lake Park where my business has been for 37 years, I will change the location if I have to. Lake Park borders North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Riviera Beach and Palm Beach County. In fact, Martin County is just a few miles north, bordering Jupiter and Tequesta which Jupiter Inlet Colony borders and is where I live.
The flag will be so tall (I've decided to make it 343 feet tall rather than 341 because 343 is the exact number of firefighters who died at 9/11) that whether or not it's in one municipality or another, it will be visible to all for many miles.
The objections that have been raised against this flag are not surprising. I've been told all my life that I can't do things but I do them anyway and successfully. People laughed when I told them I would become the largest volume car dealer in Palm Beach County because my dealership is in the tiny town of Lake Park, population about 9,000. I was told that I would never dare put red phones all around my company so that any customer can call me personally anytime. They said the same thing about giving my home telephone and cell phone numbers to all of my customers. They told me that if I did a TV commercial in Spanish, it would tarnish my reputation and hurt my business but my business thrived.
It's always interested me how my ideas are attacked. When I made the Hispanic TV commercial, I was attacked from the far right and defended by the far left. With the flag, I'm attacked from the far left and defended by the far right. The extreme left and right are always the most vocal and visible. What neither "far side" understands or cares about is the vast silent majority who, in the long run, determine the direction in which we move. The silent majority hears and sees what the left and right are making all the noise about, but they are too busy going about their daily lives, raising kids, going to work, and enjoying life to immediately "jump into the fray". However, they are not too busy to get involved when they have to. They usually vote the best candidates into office and they vote with their pocketbooks when they buy products and services. If I had to tell you one thing that has been responsible for my success it's that I think like a member of the silent minority but I've not always been silent. Maybe I should think of myself as a "spokesman" for the silent majority.
When the flag honoring the 9/11 First Responders is raised soon in one of our local communities, I and the silent majority will prevail as we usually do and the ranting of the fringes will be long forgotten. Florida, Palm Beach County (or Martin) and a local town will be known as the home of the World's tallest American flag and a memorial to the First Responders of 9/11. The vast silent majority will benefit all economically and righteously even the fringes who always protest progress.