WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Ask people in Waterbury and they’ll probably smile when you ask them about Ziggy the Flagman.
“Most everyone in Waterbury knew my dad,” said Ziggy’s son, Alex.
Ziggy the Flagman’s real name was Zeqir Berisha. He died last Christmas of congestive heart failure. But, on patriotic holidays like the 4th of July, he was very much alive — known for his red, white, and blue costumes; his red, white, and blue van; and his red, white, and blue flags as he would often be seen on street sidewalks proudly showing off his American pride. It’s something he did every year and became rather famous for in Waterbury and the greater Waterbury area.
Alex said his intense love of America stemmed from the fact that he was born in communist Kosovo and fled there in 1969 for a better life here in the U.S.
“America’s the country where you could do whatever you want — be whatever you want,” Alex said. “My dad came here, started a new life, met my mom and raised five boys — you know, live the American dream.”
On Saturday at noon, the folks at the Lasting Brass Brewing Company just across the town line in Watertown, are holding a launch party for their unique way of saluting Ziggy. They’re introducing their Ziggy the Flagman beer. The cans include a message written by Ziggy’s family about not taking freedom for granted.
The folks at the brewing company said they did this to honor Ziggy, and not as some PR stunt.
“What he meant and what he was trying to let everyone know is challenge people to understand that we have freedoms that others don’t have,” said Ed Silva, owner of Lasting Brass Brewing Company.
As for Alex and his family, they are thankful for the outpouring of support the community has shown to their family since he died. They get a kick out of the cans. The Ziggy beer is lifting their spirits.
“To see him on a can what better way to celebrate the 4th of July than with Ziggy on a can?” Alex said. “I’m proud that he was my father.”
Free download: Access Connecticut breaking news, weather, stream newscasts live and more on-the-go with News 8 alerts directly to your phone.