BRANSON, Mo. -- Flags are waving over Gretna Road in Branson just in time for Independence Day, and possibly for the last time.
The flags went up a little later than their normal Memorial Day appearance due to some confusion between the city and the Branson Veterans Task Force, the group contracted to display and maintain the flags.
Tom Goldsworthy, a veteran who volunteers with the task force, said he donates much of his time, effort and even money to keep them flying.
"I think of my grandson and other people right now," Goldsworthy said. "I think of how proud I am when I'm driving down the street and I see those flags flying."
The task force has displayed the flags annually since the days following September 11, 2001.
Ed "Rattlesnake" Woods, who makes leather crafts at a shop along Gretna, said he looks forward to seeing the striped banners every day.
"It means a lot," he said, "to each individual who comes to town here in Branson."
After more than a decade, though, Goldsworthy and the Branson Task Force have run out of funds to continue displaying the flags. Wind, rain and even vandalism damage most flags within 90 days. At more than $25 each, the cost adds up quickly.
"I can't do it anymore," Goldsworthy said. "Once I put these flags up this year, I will have barely enough to keep them flying through December."
Garrett Anderson, the spokesperson for the City of Branson, confirmed that the flags, poles and commemorative plaques are funded privately, not through the city.
"Gretna's really a main thoroughfare for Branson," Anderson said. "The flags make it a beautiful spot. We would certainly encourage the public and those who appreciate the beauty of the road to support their veterans."
Goldsworthy said he hopes more donors from Branson and other communities will continue to help the task force fly the red, white and blue.
"I've seen the avenue when it's had no flags," he said. "It's a lonely look."
To find out how to sponsor a flag or donate to the Veterans Task Force, call 417-337-8387.