Waterbury man carries on legacy of ‘Ziggy the Flagman’ as the country struggles amid pandemic, unrest

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — A Waterbury man is enthusiastically carrying out the legacy of ‘Ziggy the Flagman’ as the Fourth of July nears amid the coronavirus crisis and ongoing protests against racism and police brutality.

Ask just about anyone who has lived in Waterbury or surrounding towns for a while and chances are they’ve heard of ‘Ziggy the Flagman’.

“He was an institution here in Waterbury and in the surrounding towns,” said Waterbury resident, Jack Law.

When it came time to celebrate the Fourth of July or commemorate Memorial Day, Ziggy could often be seen driving around town in his red, white, and blue ‘God Bless America Ziggy van.’ When he wasn’t in the van, he was dressed in red, white, and blue waving American flags to the delight of the people driving by the busy intersection of Meriden Rd. and East Main St.

That’s where News 8 found Francisco Ramos Tuesday. He was decked out in America’s colors waving American flags. Ramos wants to carry on Ziggy’s legacy who passed away on Christmas Day 2018.

RELATED: Waterbury mourns the loss of “Ziggy the Flagman”

“He actually inspired me,” Ramos said.

One of Ziggy’s sons told News 8 Ziggy loved America so much because it offered him an escape when he fled communist Kosovo in 1969.

“He appreciated freedom when he came here,” Rich Berisha said. “He didn’t have freedom where he was.”

Berisha tells News 8 his entire family is touched seeing Ramos be so inspired to pick up where his dad left off. They view it as a loving tribute to the man they loved; a man who loved Waterbury and America.

“I see my dad’s spirit living alive still,” Berisha said. “I think what he’s doing is great.”

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