Why I didn’t fly the flag on Veterans Day

About ten years ago I screwed a metal socket to the frame of my garage door to hold an American flagpole. And over the years I’ve done a pretty good job of flying the flag on the appropriate holidays… 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc. But last week I forgot to fly the flag on Veterans Day.

I should be ashamed for being unpatriotic. But it wasn’t my fault. It was the Union Tribune’s fault.

The San Diego Union Tribune used to provide a useful service to good Americans by putting Old Glory on the front of the paper, top left-hand corner, on patriotic holidays. On July 4th you’d walk out your front door, look at the front page and be reminded it was a day when you should show the colors.

But then came September 11, 2001. After that, the UT management decided the paper needed to show the flag all the time. So there it was on the front of every edition, Sunday through Saturday.

That would have been fine if they’d put a limit on it. The paper could have observed a period of mourning, so to speak, and then gone back to the old way of doing things. But I guess removing the flag from the front of the paper, for any reason, is like a politician arguing we should have shorter prison sentences for rapists. It never happened.

The result is the flag on the front page has become wallpaper; a cliché. Because that’s what a cliché’s is: An expression that becomes so familiar you stop listening to it… in this case, you stop seeing it.

Getting back to Veterans Day… I picked up the paper and I didn’t see the flag, even though it was right in front of me. I’d been ignoring that graphic for years, so why should I notice it on Veterans Day? Ergo I didn’t bother to put up the flag.

My point is symbols only have meaning when they catch our attention. Turning the American flag into wallpaper doesn’t make us to think about being Americans. So drop the daily flag! It’s the patriotic thing to do.

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One Comment on “Why I didn’t fly the flag on Veterans Day”

  1. Nicole Vargas Says:

    Damn U-T. All jokes aside, I really like your new blog. Keep it coming!


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