, Salem, MA


June 14, 2014

Column: 'Not just pieces of cloth'

June 14 is Flag Day, a celebratory day in this country. This year is special in that it marks the bicentennial of the “Star-Spangled Banner.” It is not a “holiday” like Memorial Day or July Fourth, but a holiday nonetheless. It is a day that is self-explanatory to all generations. Even a person for whom V-E Day (May 8) and V-J Day (Sept. 2) have no meaning can figure out what Flag Day is about.

This particular Flag Day causes this writer to think about the flags he does (and did) display. I have, as do lots of people, a little flagpole attached to the front entrance to my home. I have a penchant for using this pole to display flags indicating days important to me or indicative of some time/event. On national holidays, I have always unfurled Old Glory. This year was different.

This year, my friend, neighbor and former student Bill Wholley asked me if I would fly the POW/MIA flag. Bill is a Vietnam vet who has a friend whose dad is a wounded Korean War veteran. POWs and MIAs have more than a historical meaning to Bill’s friend’s dad. I was glad to do so because, as I said, a flag displays what one is thinking.

That got me to thinking about other flags I fly or have flown. I have a few different flags (most from Eugenia’s Flags). They usually have to do with the seasons: skaters in January, a cardinal on a snow-covered branch in February, a robin with a worm at the start of spring, differing flowers in May and June; a beach scene in July and an ice cream cone in August, falling leaves in September and into October, a cornucopia in November.

They might also have to do with specific events:

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