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AYSA focuses on solutions

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Group tackles problems head-on


New officers of the American Yarn Spinners Association are (L-R) President Charles L. Little, president of the yarn division of Mount Vernon Mills, Greenville, SC; First Vice President James W. Chesnutt, president and chief executive officer of National Spinning Co., Inc., Washington, NC; Second Vice President Stephen G. Dobbins, president, treasurer and chief operating officer of Carolina Mills, Inc., Maiden, NC; and Treasurer Fred A. Jackson, president of American & Efird, Inc., Mount Holly, NC.

By Devin Steele

SEA ISLAND, GA — During their 34th annual meeting here early last month, members of the American Yarn Spinners Association (AYSA) tackled head on the problems strangling their sector — along with solutions to those problems.

Humorists and motivational speakers were left off the program this year in favor of presenters who would provide unique, meaningful perspectives on the industry’s troubles. In addition to poignant words by outgoing President Harding Stowe, the group heard presentations from a cotton merchandiser, a renowned global economist, a cotton industry economist, a retailer and a representative of an international textile association.

Stowe, president and CEO of R.L. Stowe Mills, Belmont, NC, summed up yarn spinners’ woes: “The past 12 months have been the hardest ever for many people sitting in this room. We have faced decisions on plant closings, layoffs and cost savings that we could not have imagined until only recently.”

Flagging attendance at the event reflected business conditions and followed a trend of other trade association meetings this year. Only about 180 people were present, off from 260 a year ago.

During the meeting, Stowe was succeeded as president by Charles L. Little, president of the yarn division of Mount Vernon Mills, Greenville, SC. Also, Michael S. Hubbard was elected executive vice president and secretary of the group. He succeeds Jim H. Conner, who is retiring after 29 years but will remain with the association in an advisory capacity for another year.

During his remarks, Stowe told members that there is no reason to “sugar coat” the industry’s afflictions and also not to get bogged down in them.

“It is important to focus on the future and not be so absorbed by our problems that we are caught in the headlights and don’t plan ahead,” he said. “We must realistically face our position as it is now in the market.”

He added that the U.S. is not as cost-competitive as competing, developing nations.

“While it will remain important to be better or at least competitive with other domestic mills in cost, it is nearly impossible to beat developing countries around the world,” he said. “U.S. labor and environmental standards, currency manipulations and less financial accountability give others the edge.”

Stowe also commented on yarn prices, which have severely hampered yarn spinners. “It is hard to imagine the new 21st century has brought us prices more reflective of the early 20th century,” he said. “We have also seen prices associated with the CBI (Caribbean Basin Initiative) collapse. Foreign competitors simply want to know what price is needed to compensate for the lower duty advantage the CBI offers and will offer that price.”

Regarding trade, he said that it is naive to think that many changes in government policy on the matter will occur. Policy is now driven by a “consumer economy” and the textile industry needs to accept that as fact, he added.

The most important measure members can take to ensure survival is to focus on the customer, Stowe said.

“Even 25 years ago when I studied textiles at Clemson, there wasn’t much mention of the customer,” he said. “We were much more concerned with productivity and production rates than customer preference. If we were honest with ourselves we know how many machinery decisions we made without really giving much thought to the marketing side of the decision.

“But there is a customer out there and they spend a lot of money on textile products. The future of our industry and businesses depend on our successful relationships with customers. Each of us must make individual decisions on how best to do it, but there are successful models in the world.”

In closing his President’s Address, Stowe thanked Conner for his service and presented him with a token of appreciation from the membership. He also praised his successor.

“Charles Little will be an energetic and active president,” Stowe said. “He will work hard for our interests.”

Other perspectives

Meanwhile, cotton merchandiser Thomas Mueller, vice president of Savcot Enterprises in Savannah, GA, delved into the industry downturn with a few blunt observations of his own. While global competition and the strong U.S. dollar certainly contributed to the “cataclysmic decline,” he said, the real reasons for the serious problems of the past year are “absolutely homemade,” he said during a breakfast workshop.

He cited:

• a somewhat myopic view and lack of global vision related to yarn pricing, world consumption trends and a lack of being on the cutting edge in business development versus Asian competition;

• a lack of currency understanding in an environment where currency relationships determine trade balances, with the U.S. dollar being the tool for economic warfare;

• a lack of proper risk management regarding pricing decisions in raw cotton; and

• a huge buildup of overcapacity in commodity yarns around the globe.

Mueller went on to say that the industry’s foreign counterparts know everything about their U.S. competitors and their domestic market.

“And they know what your weaknesses are,” he said. “What do you know about them? India has said that in 10 to 15 years ‘the U.S. is going to be our market.’ ”

He added that a supreme economic battle is being waged, which via the World Trade Organization will divide the spoils of the consuming world. But the strong dollar isn’t helping U.S. manufacturers compete in those circumstances, he said.

In addition, world overcapacity in all yarn segments has unleashed the heaviest competition ever encountered in the textile trade, he noted.

The real key to the cotton market, as always, is demand, he added.

“Demand in the Western consumer societies is sluggish, at best, as the global slowdown is working through the system,” Mueller said. “However, with inventories at retail level having been dramatically pared to cut cost, you, as mill owners/operators, are now asked to carry yarn and fabric for the beleaguered mass market chain stores.”

The result is a further reduction in cash flow and an even higher financial burden on mills until a turnaround in apparel consumption appears, he said.

“If and when yarn prices stabilize and business gets booked further out than the now customary hand-to-mouth yarn business, then we expect the bottom in the yarn market to be near,” Mueller said. “This may take another 2-3 months.”

Morris leaves post at SCMA

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Executive VP accepts Commerce position; Atwater moves up


Morris

By Devin Steele

Dr. Jim Morris, who oversaw perhaps the biggest transition in the 99-year history of the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (SCMA), has left the organization to become chief of staff of the SC Commerce Department.

Morris, 62, has been succeeded as SCMA’s executive vice president by Todd Atwater, who was previously the group’s vice president and general counsel.

SCMA’s board had approved in May a measure that would move Atwater into the top position in December. Morris had planned to stay on in a part-time capacity, handling such duties as member development and recruitment and policy assistance. The rest of the time, Morris had planned to “take life easy” — that is, until he received an offer he couldn’t refuse from Gov. James Hodges and Commerce Secretary Charlie Way.


Atwater

“I put all that (semi-retirement talk) aside to do this,” said Morris, who will be responsible for recruiting industrial investment in the state. “And I’ll do it as long as I think I’m making a contribution and as long as everybody is satisfied with my performance.

“This is not going to be a taking-life-easy kind of task,” he added. “We have an office in Tokyo and an office in Munich and we travel nationally and internationally trying to recruit new business development and working with our existing business clients here in the state, nationally and internationally.”

Morris joined the alliance in February 1997 when it was a textile-exclusive entity. Members the next year approved a measure to open their ranks to all manufacturing sectors and, now, 43 percent of its membership is non-textiles.

“That’s been an exciting thing to be involved in and a very pleasant experience for me personally,” Morris said of the transformation. “The chief executive officers of the textile manufacturing companies who were part of the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association were intimately involved in helping us reinvent the organization and had the vision to understand the importance of opening this organization to all of manufacturing. And the manufacturing community in the state has been very receptive to this reinvention.”

He said he is leaving the group in solid stead and in good hands.

“I’m very pleased with the direction in which we’re headed,” he said. “I think all the policies, the framework, the plan of work and the organization, both with volunteers and staff, are in place to continue to execute those policies and procedures. I think as an organization it will continue to grow as soon as this manufacturing recession is over and it will play an important role in the future of South Carolina.

“Todd is going to do an outstanding job and take this organization to the next level.”

Asia to host …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Back-to-back shows

Asia takes center stage in the textile machinery world this month as two international trade shows are scheduled just days apart in Osaka and Singapore.

Now in its 25th year, the 7th Osaka International Textile Machinery Show (OTEMAS) runs October 8-13 in Japan. Meanwhile, the first International Exhibition of Textile Machinery (ITMA Asia) is slated for October 15-19 at the Singapore Expo.

According to latest figures, nearly 500 exhibitors from 25 countries will present at the quadrennial OTEMAS in 45,000 square meters of space. Among those, slightly more than 100 will exhibit information technology products and services in the IT Pavilion.

OTEMAS organizers said they are expecting a smaller show in terms of visitors as well as exhibitors, due to the inaugural ITMA Asia being staged just days later. However, they added, major Japanese textile machinery makers have opted to exhibit at OTEMAS rather than the Singapore show.

Only a handful of U.S. companies are exhibiting, including Datacolor International, Day International, Lawson-Hemphill, Raitech and Steel Heddle. The latter four also will exhibit at ITMA Asia.

Meanwhile, ITMA Asia sponsors CEMATEX and Meeting Planners International Pte. Ltd. (MPI) are anticipating in excess of 750 exhibitors from more than 30 countries. More than 30 U.S. companies will showcase their wares.

Following are descriptions of goods being exhibited at these shows. Only those companies that submitted information is included here.

Sulzer Textil

Sulzer Textil, which was recently bought by the Itema Group, is exhibiting its weaving machines at both shows.

At the ITMA Asia, a prototype of the terry version of the G6300 rapier weaving machine will be exhibited for the first time.

This machine features the following advantages, according to the company: pile formation by sley control; loose pick distance up to 24 mm; dynamic pile control, freely programmable pile height change during operation; freely programmable changeover from three- and four-pick terry within a towel; and intermediate picks possible when changing over from flat weave to terry.

The standard series version of the P7300 projectile weaving machine will be shown at the ITMA Asia and OTEMAS for the first time.

Sulzer Textil officials said this new projectile weaving machine features the following innovations: new, pioneering hardware and software for machine control; new design with enhanced shed geometry; terminal supporting a browser, for direct Internet access; tucked selvedge 15 or 35 mm wide; and reduced maintenance and servicing requirement.

The expanded range of applications of its high-speed M8300 multi-phase weaving machine can be viewed at ITMA Asia. Fabrics with a substantially higher warp density can now be produced in 1/1, 2/1, 2/2 and 3/1 weaves.

Exhibits at ITMA Asia include:

• one G6300 rapier weaving machine, terry version, with a working width of 260 cm, with control for eight weft colors;

• two G6300 rapier weaving machines with working widths of 190 and 220 cm, eight weft colors, weaving shirtings and women’s outerwear fabrics (one of these machines will be at the Grob company’s booth);

• one P7300 projectile weaving machine, working width 360 cm, four weft colors, weaving a curtain fabric; and

• one M8300 multi-phase weaving machine with a working width of 190 cm, weaving a 2/1 twill with a warp density of 40.5 threads per cm.

Exhibits at OTEMAS include:

• one G6300 rapier weaving machine with a working width of 220 cm, eight weft colors, weaving a woollen fabric;

• one G6200 rapier weaving machine, terry version, working width 260 cm, eight weft colors and jacquard machine; and

• one P7300 projectile weaving machine, working width 390 cm, four weft colors, weaving an industrial fabric.

Picanol

These Picanol products will be shown during ITMA Asia:

GAMMA 8 R 220

The Gamma machine on display will be weaving a high fashion multi-color worsted silk style.

A new rapier and rapier guiding system, specially developed for the weaving of delicate worsted yarns, guarantee excellent warp and weft stop figures and consequently better efficiency and quality, according to company officials.

The machine is equipped with a positive Stäubli dobby with 10 harness frames and an Eltex selvedge Jacquarette, which has an independent, electronically controlled motor drive.

OMNI PLUS 4 R 190

The OMNIplus will be weaving upholstery (made of PES in warp and cotton in weft). This machine configuration features a Stäubli dobby (2871), allowing speeds up to 900 rpm. The harness frames have built-in heddle dampers, patented by Picanol.

The graphic display, together with the well-designed ergonomics and insertion system, makes weaving versatile styling on OMNIplus simple, the company said.

Energy consumption is reduced by 15 to 20 percent, thanks to the reduced drive train and the SUMO main motor, Picanol added.

The speed of the machine can be set on the display and, with the optispeed option, the speed can even be varied to follow a weave pattern, which is useful for weaving more difficult yarns within the weave pattern.

Dornier

Lindau Dornier is showing at ITMA Asia its family of rapier and air-jet weaving machines, among other products.

The rapier weaving machine’s extensive range of applications will be demonstrated by a machine equipped for eight filling colors with an electronic jacquard machine. Pattern changing on the fly with the machine in operation will be the focal point of the demonstration.

Pattern change from a silk tie fabric to an upholstery fabric made of various types of yarn will be demonstrated.

The flexibility of the air-jet weaving machine has been extended by the fact that, with the patented Fast Dobby Change (FDC), the positive cam motion can be replaced by a dobby in accordance with the market situation, the company said. Thanks to the AutoLub universal undermotion, this conversion takes place within the time frame of a style change.

Shown for the first time in Asia will be the new terry air-jet weaving machine, EasyTerry. Simplification in the guidance of the pile warp threads improves ergonomics, optimizes performance and drastically reduces the number of mechanical components, Dornier said.

Meanwhile, the CAN-Bus used by both rapier and air-jet weaving machines, in connection with a user-friendly graphical display, offers comprehensive internal communication as well as external worldwide communication. This forms the basis for the Dornier Global Communications Network DoNet.

The system offers many features including, among others, ordering spare parts using EPOS over the Internet and remote diagnosis with the aid of the company’s own software program DoWeave.

Also, comprehensive information will be available covering Dornier’s range of equipment for the finishing of tubular knit goods, based on the patented circular expander that possesses a prevailing position in the Asian market. The family consists of the singeing machine EcoSinge®, mercerizing machine EcoMerc® and the combined mercerizing and bleaching equipment EcoCombine®, which allows wet-on-wet mercerization.

The range also includes the circular squeezing machine EcoSqueeze® and the circular heat setting machine EcoFix®.

Trützschler

At ITMA Asia, Trützschler will show its products in two booths. In the spinning area, the company will display the Cleanomat CXL cleaner, the Securomat SCFO and the Maxi-Flo MFC pre-cleaner.

In addition, Trützschler will exhibit the high-production card DK 903 with the integrated drawing machine. Also, the HSR 1000 high-performance drawing machine with a changer for rectangular cans will be displayed.

In the nonwovens area, the company will share space with Dilo System Group. On display will be a Trützschler opening installation with a Spinnbau Turbo Unit and a Dilo needle machine.

Rieter Corp.

Several business groups will be on hand in the Rieter booth at ITMA Asia.

Rieter’s Filament Yarn Technologies group will show systems, conversions, parts and process solutions for the production of textile yarns, tirecord and industrial yarns, carpet yarns and glass fibers.

On display from the Perfojet group will be systems for the production of nonwovens.

Among Rieter Spun Yarn Systems will be systems, machines, parts and conversions for the short-staple spinning industry from bale to yarn, including all major end spinning processes such as ring spinning, rotor spinning and COM4 spinning technology.

SDL International Group

With its recent acquisition of Textile Innovators, SDL International Group has increased its booth space by 50 percent at ITMA Asia.

The April purchase marks a significant move by SDL into the specialist testing, fabrics and consumables sector of the textile detergent and laundry machine industries.

New products on display include the MTDA/ Quickspin System, which was first shown at ITMA 99. Developed by ITV Denkendorf Research in Germany, the machine has evolved into a Rapid Sample Spinning system destined to replace the aging Shirley Miniature Spinning Plant. Quickspin, together with new Quicknit Sample Knitting, can produce yarn and fabric for evaluation from 5 grams of fiber in 15 minutes, the company said.

SDL also will show its Phenotest, which assesses the likelihood of fabrics to yellow, allows selection of fabrics without this characteristic before manufacture and is currently under consideration for ISO and AATCC test methods.

Also to be introduced is a new Digital Hydraulic Bursting Tester with a bursting capacity up to 6,000 KPA (870 PSI), automatic diaphragm calibration and distension height measurement up to 70mm.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals

Ciba Specialty Chemicals will exhibit at ITMA Asia a wide variety of integrated solutions for textile processing.

The company will demonstrate how Ciba dyes and chemicals add value throughout the textile chain, from fiber production, through weaving, pre-treatment and fluorescent whitening, dyeing and printing right to finishing, according to a company official.

Uniwave, Inc.

At ITMA, Uniwave will be demonstrating its full product line, including lubricators, lint removal devices and production control equipment.

Special emphases will be put on several new products, including the Keep Kleen Combo for cleaning carriers and tape/storage feeder areas on single knit knitting machines; the Sinker Blower Kit, designed to clean the sinker and needle slots of single knit knitting machines; and the Projectile 419, which saves 40 percent of the compressed air consumed by its predecessor, the Quantum Lubricator.

Free trade agreement …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Reached with Jordan

Following the House of Representatives, the Senate approved legislation (H.R. 2603) to implement the U.S.-Jordan free trade agreement (FTA), clearing the way for enactment.

The agreement effectively removes all trade barriers with the Middle East country, which was necessary to “reinforce” Jordan’s support for the United States in its fight against international terrorism, according to Sen. Max S. Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said the deal, the United States’ first with an Arab nation, “serves as a statement that our enemy is terrorism, not the Muslim world.”

U.S.-Jordan trade amounted to about $400 million last year, which is small in scale. Jordanian imports of apparel and textiles into the U.S. amounts to about 0.15 percent of all such imports, according to reports.

U.S. firms …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

To exhibit in Europe

MEMPHIS, TN — Two major U.S. textile firms will join Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton Incorporated in exhibiting at Texworld this month in Paris and London.

Burlington Apparel Services will exhibit denim fabrics and garments and Buhler Quality Yarns will show quality fabric made from ring spun yarn in the U.S. Cotton Pavilion at Texworld, October 3-6 in Paris and in London, October 17-18. The Pavilions, sponsored by CCI and Cotton Incorporated, will be showing cotton garments and fabrics from users of U.S.-grown cotton and cotton products from around the world.

Also provided will be trend, color and market information for retailers and new developments for the cotton textile industry as a whole.

The Texworld Pavilion fabric library will feature the latest product innovations from the two U.S. companies and 29 other COTTON USA Mark licensee companies that use a majority of U.S. cotton in the construction of their products.

In addition, CCI Executive Director Allen Terhaar, Washington, DC, will provide attendees with an update on the worldwide cotton economic situation; research results on the potential for importing Mexican cotton products into Western Europe; Global Lifestyle Monitor results; and information regarding the COTTON USA Mark licensing and promotion program.

Texworld has become one of the world’s leading textile trade fairs.

Koch to acquire …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Balance of KoSa

HOUSTON — KoSa, a leader in the polyester business since its formation in 1998, announced that the 50 percent ownership position in the company held by IMASAB S.A. de C.V. will be acquired by the company’s other 50 percent owners, Koch International Equity Investments BV and Koch Equities, Inc.

Both Koch International Equity Investments BV and Koch Equities, Inc. are subsidiaries of Wichita, KS-based Koch Industries, Inc.

“KoSa’s mission is unchanged — that is, to be the leader in the polyester industry,” said George Gregory, the company’s chief executive officer.

“We are excited about the prospects of this transition and look forward to continued strong and close working relationships with our many customers,” said Bill Caffey, KoSa chairman.

ExxonMobil, Basell …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Ink research deal

HOUSTON — Basell and ExxonMobil Chemical announced that they have signed a research and development agreement to accelerate developments in metallocene polypropylene (mPP) technology.

The agreement includes licensing of each company’s metallocene PP patents and know-how to each other that is essential to the accelerated development.

Under the agreement, Basell will license the developed mPP technology to all interested parties, including other polypropylene process licensors who may also obtain sub-licensing rights. Basell and ExxonMobil will each separately manufacture, market and sell mPP resins.

Textile Club …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

To host mayor

GASTONIA, NC — Pat McCrory, three-term mayor of Charlotte, NC, will be the featured speaker at the Carolinas Textile Club luncheon on Monday, October 8.

McCrory serves as president of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials organization.

He also serves on the board of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and as chairman of its Energy and Environment Committee.

During his six years as mayor and his previous six years as an at-large council member, McCrory has emphasized public safety, long-term transportation policies and land-use planning. He is employed by Duke Energy Company.

His remarks will include an update on the business climate in the Charlotte area.

The club meets at noon at the Four Point Sheraton, 201 S. McDowell Street in Charlotte.

For more information or to register, call Lillian Link at (704) 824-3522. Guest fees are $15 and reservations are required.

Despite attacks …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Trade shows will go on

The shows will go on.

That’s the announcement of trade show organizers in the wake of the September 11 terrorists attacks on America.

George Little Management, LLC (GLM) said it anticipates a return to “business as usual” for its New York City-based trade shows scheduled for this month.

The New York Home Textiles Show®; EX TRACTS®: A Tradeshow for Aromatherapy, Fragrance and Personal Care; and SURTEX®Gallery will run as scheduled, from Friday, October 12, through Monday, October 15 at New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

“Many of our exhibitors and attendees have inquired about our plans. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and rescue workers involved in this terrible tragedy,” said Penny Sikalis, GLM vice president and group manager. “However, we have decided to heed President Bush’s and New York City Mayor Giuliani’s directive to move forward and to continue with business as usual.”

The three shows will take place in Halls 1A and 1B. Together, the events will feature 500 exhibitors. Some 6,000 attendees are expected.

Meanwhile, organizers of the IFAI Expo, a technical fabrics exposition, will go on as scheduled October 18-20 at the Opryland Hotel & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.

Visitor registration continues to be ahead of last year’s pace, organizers said. Two seminar topics that had already been scheduled for Thursday, October 18 now take on new importance:

• Dick Healing, director of the Office of Safety and Survivability, U.S. Department of the Navy, is conducting a program that will identify military applications for textiles as well as a forecast of future military needs; and

• Jack London of Defense Supply Center Philadelphia will review DSCP business practices and future business opportunities for professionals involved in the military and safety and protective technical fabric industries.

STA …

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

To hold fall meeting

GASTONIA, NC — The fall meeting of the South Carolina Division of the Southern Textile Association will take place Tuesday, October 16 at Clemson University’s Hunter Hall in Clemson, SC.

Speakers include:

• Dr. Mark Lange of the National Cotton Council of America, who will speak on “The Future of the U.S. Cotton Industry;”

• John Anderson, vice president of marketing for Wellman Textile Fibers, who will present “Polyester — Today and Tomorrow;”

• Bill Gray of Murata of America, who will address “Competition in the Machinery Area;”

• Chris Jarvis of the Clemson Area Research Center, who will cover “What Does the Future Hold for Cut & Sew?;” and

• U.S. Congressman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and South Carolina Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens County, who will discuss “What Can the Textile Industry Expect from the Bush Administration Concerning National Trade Policy?”

The program runs from 8:15 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Fee is $25 for members. Deadline to register is Tuesday, October 15.

To register or for more information, call Lillian Link at the STA office at (704) 824-3522.

The North Carolina/Virginia Division meeting will take place Thursday, November 8 at the Sheraton Four Seasons, Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, NC.

The Piedmont Division will hold its fall meeting on Thursday, November 15 at the Sheraton Airport Plaza Hotel in Charlotte, NC.

Guest Editorial

Week of Oct. 1, 2001

Main Street pitches to help recovery

THE TRAGIC EVENTS of September 11, have left all of us horrified, angry and full of questions. But perhaps more than anything else, those awful terrorist acts have left us with an overwhelming desire to help our fellow Americans rebuild, recover and express our love of country. While there are many, many tragic stories surrounding the attacks, many uplifting tales of courage, generosity and patriotism have also risen from the rubble at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. As you might expect, Main Street small-business owners have joined all other Americans to do anything and everything they can do to help our nation heal. From Manhattan to small Midwestern towns, Main Street has rallied to help in any possible way.

At ground zero in the New York and Washington areas, reports have emerged about small independent restaurants providing countless free meals to the courageous and selfless rescue and recovery crews who have worked day and night to sift through the rubble, frantically search for survivors and remove tons of debris.

THOUSANDS OF miles away in San Antonio, TX, Pete Van de Putte and his 50 employees at Dixie Flag Company have worked tirelessly to fill the needs of patriotic Americans who want to show their colors. Pete reports that his supply of full-sized American flags ran out almost immediately after the attacks, so he began the free distribution of every small 4-inch-by-6-inch stick flag he had in stock. He gave away all 10,000 of those small flags within a day of the attacks, so now he’s giving away every flag decal sticker he has left, while a constant line of 200 citizens wait patiently in 90-degree Texas heat and all nine of his phone lines ring off the hook.

A similar inspirational story is told along the banks of the Mississippi River, in Quincy, IL, where, like in most communities, there’s also a shortage of American flags. JK Creative Printers lived up to its name and quickly printed 20,000 American flag posters, which were delivered to local firehouses for free distribution. “Our thought was that if this happened in Quincy, our firefighters would be the heroes, so pick up a flag poster from the firefighters and tell them thank you,” reports Kathy Ridder. After all 20,000 posters were handed out by 8:15 a.m. on the morning they were delivered to the firehouses, JK printed 40,000 more, which were all gone by 5 p.m. that afternoon.

THESE ARE only a few of the millions of touching stories of humanity and patriotism that no doubt could be told about the hours and days after the terrorist attacks.

While the terrorists who committed these horrible crimes intended to break the American spirit, what they have actually done is strengthen it. From Main Street to Wall Street, from big cities to small towns, Americans have come together as never before. Our prayers are with the victims and their families, and we will always remember them as we work together to keep the United States a shining beacon of freedom, democracy and free enterprise.

Jack Faris is president of NFIB, the nation’s largest small business advocacy group. A non-profit, non-partisan organization founded in 1943, NFIB represents the consensus views of its 600,000 members in Washington, DC, and all 50 state capitals. More information is available on-line at www.nfib.com.