By DOUG WILSON
Herald-Whig Senior Writer
MAYWOOD, Mo. -- Neighbors on Route O in southern Lewis County were out early on the Fourth of July, putting up flags along the highway running between their homes and Maywood.
Phylis and Darrell Eisenberg, and Steve and Gloria Long don't see their efforts as anything extraordinary.
"It's a show of respect," Darrell Eisenberg said. "It looks nice and makes everybody think about where we're at and where we live."
The Eisenberg and Long families live along Route O, about three-quarters of a mile west of Maywood. They don't know exactly when they started putting up flags on holidays, but they remember it was Phylis Eisenberg, a former Canton city clerk, who got it going. She also likes to mow along the highway to keep things looking neat and orderly.
Over time the Eisenbergs bought 21 flags and Steve and Gloria Long bought seven flags that they put on display for Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Veterans Day. In addition, they have flown the flags on other special occasions.
Last year, when Mike Stark of Durham died, the families put up flags along the route that the funeral procession would take to the Maywood Cemetery. Stark had served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
"Several of Mike's military company showed up. When they came over the hill, they were surprised. One guy even took some videos and sent them to us," Darrell Eisenberg said.
The flags draw a lot of comments from people.
Loretta Bringer is a member of the South Union Church in Maywood, where the Eisenbergs also are active. Bringer said the Eisenbergs not only put up flags along the highway, but they also put some around the church and accent the walkway with miniature flags.
"Last Sunday was our patriotic service. They had the flags up at the church, and we got a lot of comments," Bringer said. "I think they've kind of started a trend because other people in Maywood have started putting up flags, too."
Steve Long hopes the patriotic spirit will spread. Soon after the Longs bought their home in 1991, they put up a flagpole in the front yard. A spotlight shines on that flag, and when the weather is nice, Gloria puts up a banner-style flag at the front of the house.
"It would be totally awesome if everybody who lives along Route B and Route O would put up flags," Steve Long said.
That would represent six miles of flags along two of the routes into town.
Darrell Eisenberg said they have lost only two flags to thieves.
"Just going to get another flag doesn't bother me if somebody needed one. I just hope they use it," he said.
The flags that went up Friday are expected to stay up over the long holiday weekend unless bad weather comes.
"We'd like to have things look nice for the weekend," Eisenberg said.
If heavy winds or rain are forecast, the families will do their best to get all the flags collected.
"It doesn't take too long to put them up or take them down, maybe 20 or 30 minutes," Eisenberg said. "We've mounted brackets to put them in. It took awhile to get that done the first time, but everything goes pretty quick now."
Long discounts the work involved in displaying the flags.
"It's something we do to honor the soldiers and sailors who died. It's our freedom and our country. Why not fly the flag?" he said.