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      American flags sales soar ahead of Memorial Day

      Gary Rice spent part of his Friday afternoon shopping for patriotic memorabilia.

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- The recent news of Osama Bin Laden TMs death and the upcoming Memorial Day holiday has flags flying off the shelves.

      As I get older I appreciate it even more, because I am not able to go and defend myself, says Columbia resident Gary Rice.

      On Friday, Rice was one of many last-minute shoppers buying American flags.

      Well I recently built a house and I wanted to get a brand-new flag to commemorate this weekend, says Cedar Creek resident Andy McGown.

      The weeks leading up to the holiday are one of the busiest times of the year for Columbia Flag and Banner.

      We have seen a big surge in sales, says General Manager David McGehee. There are a lot of businesses and individuals who come in and buy flags or patriotic decorations.

      According to McGehee, flag sales usually pick up prior to Memorial Day and continue throughout the summer, but this year the business got an early boost from the death of Osama Bin Laden.

      Although the increase in sales in not as great as the demand for red, white and blue items after the September 11 terrorist attacks, McGehee adds it TMs a welcome change.

      Sales dramatically dropped in the months following 9/11 and nobody knows why. We think maybe everyone got what they needed, but it has steadily come back."

      For those who have yet to stock up on decoration, there TMs still Flag Day and Independence Day to show off the stars and stripes.