Today is the day, I remind Eddie, as he staggers out of bed not nearly as “fresh” as usual, to take down the holiday lights and return our American flag to the pole. It’s not his fault. It’s not even because he’s a firefighter and it’s okay to be that way. It’s because he babysat “she with no attention span” last night so I could have another reunion with old high school friends. Ah, but lest I forget, Eddie, Samantha and even old friends was not the subject I planned to take on this early Saturday morning. It’s returning the American flag to our front door.
You don’t need another column reminding you of September 11. We know it’s etched in your memory with a cold, sharp knife. But what I can’t understand is why we would even want to forget and move on. We know how it will and has affected our own economy in California, New York and our nation. But what I don’t want to forget is the lost fathers and mothers and the military and all of that.
So the point is that I haven’t see many flags of late. Maybe we had to get through Christmas with a few less flags around town. To me it felt a little like blasphemy in a way to hang festive lights and change the sentiment we had held for so long. Up went our snowman flag and down went our American flag. Some hung both as I wish I could have done. Some went for the added expense of new red, white and blue lights. Sure the feeling was still pride but with a little hope, maybe, to get us through the holidays with a little less sober mood?
But how often have you driven down Lyons to see just half of the light poles adorned with flags and half of those are wrapped tightly around their poles? I’m sure the city’s maintenance staff has more pressing issues but it still sends a chill through me that we may have forgotten September 11.
But what happened to the decals and flags on our own cars? What happened to all of the vendors on so many corners selling replacements for all of the torn and dirty flags? Did demand lower so much? Did most people feel that they just had to remove them after a specific amount of time and grime? I’m considering hand washing mine after the last rain but I fell a little foolish. Did I miss the memo that said it was time to remove them altogether?
One particularly well-spoken military gentlemen was quoted early on as saying he appreciated the support but also felt that this is what we should always be doing. You know, waving the flag all of the time. Showing support for our military, police and fire departments before the cost of another life. I agree.
I choke up when Samantha’s class recites the Pledge of Allegiance now. Heck I choke up when I see a Sheriff or what I’ve been seeing for years, firefighter personnel. What about you? Have you moved on? Can you move on without forgetting that there are civilians and non-civilians putting themselves on the line for us?
At my reunion dinner Janice was wearing her flag pin while I had on my Brooklyn T-shirt. (My uncle still lives in Brooklyn where my mom was born. We used to visit every August when I was a pimply-faced kid. Anyway, he invited me up this year, I called my mom, and we girls are going!) In the twenty-five years since high school and all of the catching up Janice and I had to do we still spent a great deal of time just talking about September 11. In fact, we credited that day with why we were seeing each other today. It had sparked us to find each other now, as if there might not be a…
So, flag vendors please get out there again. And put that firefighter bracelet back on! Bring out that safety pin flag! Wear your American Flag T-shirt! Unless you think something better is going to come out of this aside from some needed camaraderie and pride.