Ever see anything more stunning or awe-inspiring as a sea of American flags? Consider those that languidly wave at the national military cemeteries dotting the world, or when crisply grouped behind a president during an official address? What’s more humbling than a flag-draped coffin? How about the excitement of the massive flags draped across football fields before games or even as gallant as those enormous flags flown at a common gas station?
The iconic and beautiful red, white, and blue color scheme is known world-wide. Representing America, it embodies all that is right with the world. Or, as interpreted by President Reagan, “Red for courage and readiness to sacrifice; white for pure intentions and high ideals; and blue for vigilance and justice.” Our flag is found atop towering skyscrapers and mountains, as well as in front of countless businesses and homes throughout the country. There is even one on the moon.
Most probably recall our flag has thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red and alternating white, representing the original thirteen colonies. There is a blue rectangle in the corner, containing fifty stars representing the fifty states.
It hasn’t always looked that way. There have been twenty-seven designs for our flag, the last taking effect in July of 1960 when the fiftieth star was added by President Eisenhower after Hawaii become a state in August of 1959. If my children are reading, it would mean I have been around since when the flag only had forty-eight stars. The current version has been in use longer than any other; sixty years this summer.
The first actual US flag was flown at the battle of Ft. Schuyler, on August 3, 1777? Reinforcements to the skirmish carried news a flag had been approved by Congress, as designed by Francis Hopkinson. Wanting to fly it in battle, Captain Swartwout gave the material for the blue union from his officer’s coat while soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes. Believe it or not, the red came from the petticoats of the officer’s wives – that’s right, their underwear!
Countless people have perished for that flag. Nearly all Americans feel a sense of deep patriotism and love for our flag.
Or so I thought.
My wife and I are fortunate to be able to spend some time in the winter in Arizona to escape the brutal Illinois weather. We are in a small community just outside an old mining town. The community just replaced their only signage at the entrance, a much over-due project done tastefully, but by no means grandiose. A traveler could easily miss the new sign if they weren’t looking closely.
This past summer, we were emailed about an offer from a couple from the community. The couple graciously offered to pay the expense to purchase and erect a flagpole in the vicinity of the new sign. They only asked the community agree to keep up any maintenance and ongoing lighting needed for the flagpole. I should note, there is lighting on the new sign. The generous proposal was to be put for a vote.
I thought this was a slam-dunk, no-brainer resolution. We eagerly voted yes and then quite frankly, forgot about it, surmising a flagpole would soon be erected. (Notice I didn’t use the word “assume” in this paragraph!)
Last week we were emailed again. By one vote, the new flagpole proposal was voted down. I was so stunned, I read it again. Yep, I read it correctly, the gift had been voted down. I also noted this issue had caused more replies than usual from the residents. Then I started reading the anonymous comments that accompanied the votes, both for and against.
There were some legitimate concerns about proper maintenance. Other issues I surmised might be a lack of wanting to be liable for additional expense.
These types of reasons are legitimate, although easily overcome. And this is America, everyone has a right to vote.
But then I read the responses that turned the issue on its head. Some “no” votes were due to nothing more than pure political hostility from apparent liberals. They actually associate our American flag with Trump now, and therefore want no part of it. Absurdly, one guy threatened to move! Can you imagine what I thought about telling him?
Old Glory, which has been around since 1777, is now to be castigated and shunned because some folks ludicrously associate it with a probable two-termed President Trump. They despise the man so much they hysterically turned down a free patriotic gesture of an American flag at the entrance. In my opinion, this plainly personifies “Trump Derangement Syndrome.”
I despised Obama’s presidency, but never to the detriment of our flag or country. All you can do is shake your head.
Our new flagpole will be installed next week.