Okinawa veteran, 95, still honors America as Tampa’s 'flag man'

Family business Gaspar's Patio Bar and Grille has been in Temple Terrace since 1960. But owner Jimmy Ciaccio said that's surprised some of his new customers.  

"We'll tell him how long we've been here and they'll always say, 'Well, I didn't know you were here; I never knew that,'" said Ciaccio.

He thought about a patriotic way to draw more traffic. So he installed a large American flag.

"It's a 25-foot flag. I wanted to draw some attention to the business, so by me putting this American flag here, it made me feel good about where we live and what I do for a living," he continued.

He called in an expert to help him out.  

"A lot of people know me by name and a lot of people just call me ‘the Flag Man’ and I live by that," said George Hill.

Hill and his wife Patricia have also owned their family business, ABC Flag and Pennant, since the 1960's.

"He's 95 years old he's an old war vet and he's interesting to listen to," said Ciaccio.

Hill fought in World War II. 

"I served in the Pacific Infantry Division until 1946. I ended up on Okinawa," Hill recalled.

He's been hands-on installing flags all across Tampa, including for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I like to tell the people, ‘Do you go to the stadium?’ And they say, ‘Oh yes.’ ‘You see that big flag out there?’ ‘Oh yes.’ ‘Well look at me and you can say I know who did that,’" continued Hill.

And he doesn't mind taking risks to do it. 

"I'm not afraid of heights, it doesn't bother me. I've fallen. I've fallen several times. But I haven't hurt myself bad," he said.

"If the wind is blowing, you really got to hang on because as it goes up, it can pick you up," said Hill's wife Patricia.

"I didn't want him to do any manual work -- which he'll do it, he would in a second and not think twice about it," said Ciaccio.

For Hill, the American flag is worth it. 

"I fought for it. I don't have to say any more," said Hill. 

And the Hills have no interest in retirement because of customers like Ciaccio.

"We live in the United States of America.  I think that's something I'm very honored to be here," Ciaccio offered.

"The people are enthusiastic. It's that same patriotism that feeling that they want their flag up. They love the American flag. They love their country." Patricia added.

LINK: For more information about ABC Flag and Pennant, visit