Saturday, July 4, 2009
The Brooklyn Bridge's flag man
From the Daily News:
Old Glory can't be torn on the Fourth of July. [Cesar] Pazmino, who works for the Department of Transportation's bridge painting crew, has for the past 16 years maintained the flags that flutter atop the [Brooklyn Bridge]'s 273-foot towers, replacing them when they get faded or frayed. He also lowers the banners in times of mourning.
To prevent accidents, he's tethered and works with a partner. He and his cohort, Vlatko Zic, have one mantra: "Never let the flag touch the ground."
It takes about 90 minutes to replace a flag, which is usually freshened every three months, but it depends on the weather. "A stretch of bright sunny days will bleach out the flags, and the wind really tears them up," says Pazmino, who lives in Queens, not far from where he grew up.
Like his two sons, the DOT employee has served in the military. He's proud of his part in keeping the Stars and Stripes looking its best, especially at this time of year. "The flag represents us," he says. "It's our freedom."