I decided to dedicate my column space this week to publicly thank Barre City officials for the wonderful flag display downtown this year. I know the flags are put up every year, but this year they seem brighter and better, somehow. It is impossible (at least it is to me) to drive up or down Main Street and not be inspired by those beautiful American flags displayed on nearly every available lamp post and pole the entire way from City Hall to Maple Street.
There was a time in our country when every community, small or large, proudly displayed the flag on homes and businesses at this time of year. From Memorial Day to at least Independence Day “the red, white and blue” was just everywhere.
Sadly, lately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Some local towns have chosen, this year, to highlight other causes on their poles and lamp posts. That is their absolute right but let them be aware it is a right procured from the many battles for freedom fought in allegiance to that flag Barre City proudly shows to the world today.
Patriotism seems to ride the eternal pendulum that also controls the political world. That pendulum swings back and forth, left to right over the years. To me this may be a healthy thing as it affords time for all voices in our country to be heard. I will admit that I am happiest and feel that our country is ‘healthiest’ and most secure when it swings to the side of patriotism.
Then there are horrible, terrible, hopefully infrequent times such as September 11, 2001, when the flag simply jumps from the pendulum altogether, and is displayed everywhere, as our entire country unites behind it. That is when we are truly The United States.
Thank you to those who have lost family members and friends in defense of our great nation. We can never repay them, or you. Thank you, Barre City, for proudly displaying the flag under which they fought.