The saying goes that you can't fight city hall. But don't tell that to Bernie Brennan – because that's precisely what he's trying to do.
Brennan, 86, may be familiar to many in town over the last few weeks - he's the guy who's been standing outside of Town Hall with a sandwich board around his neck that reads: "INSTALL AMERICAN FLAGS NORTH ON MAIN STREET."
A Navy veteran who served during World War II, Brennan is adamant that he wants to see more flags on Main Street in downtown Manchester. So adamant, in fact, that he offered to purchase and donate 40 flags himself.
When the Board of Directors discussed Brennan's plan recently, they agreed to a compromise that would see 20 additional flags installed on a portion of Main Street. Some directors noted the difficulty of installing the additional flags, since some of them would have to be hung on utility posts, and removing them in the winter or in the event of inclement weather, while others stated that they did not believe the American flag was intended to serve as a decoration.
"Does Arlington National Cemetery have too many flags?" Brennan said when asked his opinion on whether or not the flags could be construed as a decoration.
But Brennan withdrew his offer after learning of the board's decision - he wants all 40 flags hung on Main Street or nothing.
"He's very focused on adding more flags," said General Manager Scott Shanley, who added that Brennan has sent numerous communications to the town and the Board of Directors since they last discussed the issue.
For about the past two weeks, come rain or shine, Brennan has chosen to stand outside Town Hall holding his sign asking for more flags. Motorists honk or wave as they pass him by, many likely oblivious to his cause.
But Brennan could care less. He wants his flags.
"I think it's American to support patriotism," he told Patch this week, adding that he intended to continue his protest until the flags were installed or "until my health goes out."
As of Wednesday, Brennan's protest had doubled in size, as Rusty Burnett, 66, joined him on Center Street holding his own sign asking for more flags.
Burnett said he has known Brennan for about 10 years, and when he heard about his protest, "I figured I'd come down here and show him some support."
When asked why, Burnett said he wouldn't mind seeing more flags on Main Street as well.