VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — For 30 years, Bernie Kirsch has been flying a flag display at the Oceanfront’s North End. And for years, people have walked by during the summer wondered what it is.
10 On Your Side sent a crew to 89th Street to find out why Kirsch goes through all that trouble. He said every weekend of summer he spends 40 minutes raising and lowering dozens of flags.
The display started small. Actually, he said it started as a prank with just the American Flag back in 1984. But year after year, he’s added more — no two are the same.
“And I got complaints about why didn’t I have Wyoming up there, so I bought all 50 flags,” he said. “Through the years, it’s been a great source of enjoyment for me.”
And during that time, he’s received dozens of notes and compliments from people passing by.
“I’ve been motivated by that,” Kirsch said. “That’s been the chief motivation that people care enough to say thank you.”
Fifteen years ago, the pole reached capacity — 84 different flags. Some were given to him by neighbors, which Kirsch said became a running joke when he asks them for money to help him replace or repair the pole in the off season.
“I say, ‘look, it’s fine with me that you contribute, but no more than $20 because I don’t want anybody to own the flag pole,” he said.
But the flag pole does belong to more than just Kirsch — it belongs to anyone who passes by on the beach, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“As you can see, the flags are pretty, and I like pretty things. And so do most people,” he said.
Kirsch flies those flags from Memorial Day to Labor Day.