long may it wave

I was driving to class this morning, when I saw an early-nineties sedan driving a little bit ahead and to the right of me. Not just any run-of-the mill sedan, but one sporting an American Flag, hanging off of the left rear passenger window.

What is so bad about that, you ask?

The flag was damaged beyond repair. It was frayed, torn and in very sad shape. If the Flag is damaged in such a way, aren’t you supposed to retire it in a dignified fashion? Isn’t it more patriotic to retire your flag if it has served its duty, and give it proper respect?

The US Scouting Service Project says:

When the flag is in such condition, through wear or damage, that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it shall be destroyed in a dignified manner befitting such a symbol. The traditional way is to cut the flag into pieces and burn it in a modest but blazing fire. As we perform this respected duty, let us reflect on the design and meaning of our flag.

I’ve seen way to many flags lately that are sadly threadbare and falling to pieces. That doesn’t really show much respect, although I’m sure the intentions are to fly their flags as long as they can to show patriotism.

What *is* patriotism, these days, anyways?

The current issue of Lenswork magazine has a photo collection of American Flags across the country. It’s a cliched photograph by now… but people continue to shoot numerous photos of the flag waving… of people declaring their patriotism and shouting never ending choruses of “United We Stand”.

Honestly, I’m almost tiring of this imagery. I know the events over the past couple of years have shocked everyone and made them sad, angry, and most of all, loyal to their country. But there *is* a limit, isn’t there? Can’t we just let it go and move on? Can we concentrate on making our country better instead of trying to make it even with the people and countries that we have been damaged by?

I’m often not one to rant about politics and related issues, but this brief moment this morning made me think a bit.

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0 thoughts on “long may it wave”

  1. i know, i live in NYC and i see huge flags outside people’s houses all frayed and nasty.

    i’m not shocked at the lack of effort to keep the flag in good condition but i wonder why bother putting it up at all.

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