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Triangle-Area Americans Remain United Through National Crisis

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RALEIGH — In this time of national crisis, many of us are searching for anyway we can to show support for the victims and our country. Many Triangle residents are showing their true colors.

From downtown vigils to blood donor centers, local families want to show that they are standing united at a time of crisis. Second-graders at Swift Creek Elementary proudly placed handmade flags in front of their school.

"We wanted to show our support because there were so many people who died," says second-grader Jessica Castro-Rapp.

The flag at Raleigh Fire Station 20 flies at half staff. One flag stands in the rear of the truck while other flags are pinned on firefighters' uniforms.

"Seven hundred miles away or 7,000 miles doesn't make any difference. Firefighters have a real strong brotherhood worldwide," says Capt. Peter Brock of the Raleigh Fire Department.

The demand for the American flag is so high right now that many stores are having trouble keeping them in stock. At Bob's Flags in Charlotte, people stood in long lines to purchase American flags.

People who work in the store say they have sold more flags in two days then they did in the past two months.

"This is even more busy than our typical Fourth of July, getting ready for the holiday weekend. It's just ready rewarding to see everybody coming out to fly their flag like Mayor (Pat) McCrory asked us to," says employee Liz Baumgart.

Garner EMS crews are selling memorial ribbons to raise money for the relief effort.

One concerned woman convinced Domino's to deliver free pizzas to the Baymont Inn for dozens of travelers grounded by air security fears.

"If not for this, we would have had to spend what little money we have left," says stranded traveler Robert Stevens.

In the front windows of the Hinnant house, three lights, one red, one white, and one blue, now shine 24 hours a day -- each action personal and yet a profound statement of support.

"They are in our hearts and prayers and we hold all their families in our hearts," says Suzanne Hinnant.

You can be a part of the recovery efforts by giving to "Relief for America," a fundraiser for the American Red Cross organized by WRAL-TV5, WRAL-FM, Fox 50, and the Durham Bulls. Come to our drop-off points on Thursday, where you can donate money and also set up an appointment to give blood. When you do, we will give you an American flag as a sign of patriotism.

You can also donate money online on our "

Relief For America

" page.