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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Americans Find Hope in ?Old Glory'

NEW YORK -- The signs of the pain inflicted by the terrorists span New York, from the dust cloud over the southern tip of Manhattan to the faces of the missing tacked onto walls in the East Village to the thousands who watch heartbreaking images of the World Trade Center hulk on giant television screens in Times Square.

But covering all that hurt, not only in New York but across the United States, are countless bandages in red, white and blue. In this city that is so often slow to show its feelings, the American flag bloomed in Manhattan and the boroughs, waved and worn by countless New Yorkers who wanted to do something, anything, to vent their anger and sorrow.

Tiny American flags fluttered from the radio antennas of taxis driven by men from Pakistan, Africa and Latin America. A bicyclist from Belgium, a florist from Korea, a Vietnam veteran from Puerto Rico, all flew the flag in Greenwich Village. Vendors hawked them from Midtown sidewalks, patriotism at four bucks a pop.

"Just as the terrorists know that we are watching them, we know that they are watching us," said Moses Davila, an unemployed teacher from Puerto Rico. "When they see us in the streets, wearing the flag, they know that we are not afraid of them, and that we will defeat them."

That sense of patriotism, and defiance, blanketed America.

In Miami, American flags blossomed from porches in Little Havana.

In California and in the South, hardware stores and department stores sold out. In the heartland, tiny flags fluttered like wildflowers in highway medians.

Mohammed Jaje, a cab driver from Pakistan who lives in Brooklyn, had one on his cab until Friday night. Someone took it, he said.

"I am not mad," Jaje said. "Maybe someone needed it. God bless America."

In Hammond, Louisiana, about 100 kilometers northeast of New Orleans, Melissa Webb wore a T-shirt decorated with the flag on a shopping trip to a mall.

"We can't do anything to help them because we're down here,'' said Webb, 36, who works in a sporting goods store. At least, she said, she can fly the flag to show that her heart is with the rescue crews in New York.

Flag sightings were countless in the nation's capital, one of the biggest billowing from a staff lugged about the city by 82-year-old Joseph Doria, a Filipino-American veteran of World War II.

"For years, I wave this flag in the streets and my neighbors think I'm crazy or a communist," said Doria, who seemed in danger of toppling as he grasped a flag twice his size. "We divided and scattered after the war. But now, my friend, history repeats," he said of the terror attacks. "And we are learning America's heritage again."

In Greenville, South Carolina, stores sold out of flags by the weekend. Home Depot and Wal-Mart did not have any left.

Around the city, thousands flapped in the wind, outside houses, on mailboxes, everywhere. It seemed that at least one in every three cars in Greenville had a flag on it, sometimes two.

Some did not have to shop for a flag. Bob Krause, a former marine, had flags that have been in the family for generations, flags that flew over old wars. Brock Sanders hung a 48-star American flag inherited from his grandfather who had flown the same flag after Pearl Harbor was bombed.