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Red, white and blue … in miniature




Evening Times Editor I t’s probably a little cheesy these days to say so, but I still have a great deal of reverence for the American flag. There are a lot of really cool flags out there (Tanzania, Brazil, Bhutan and South Korea immediately come to mind) but I still think ours is the best, although I suppose I could be a bit biased.

It probably started as a kid when I started school. Every morning, as a class, we would all stand and say the “Pledge of Allegiance.” At least one year, maybe second grade or so, we also added singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” while marching around the classroom amongst the rows of desks. Of course, a lot has changed since the early 1980s. We also used to say a blessing before leaving the classroom for lunch. I don’t imagine that would go over very well these days – except maybe in Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Anyway, the flag is kind of a big deal to me. In the sixth grade, a friend and I were tasked with putting up and taking down the U.S. and Arkansas flags from the pole out in front of Phelix Elementary School for a whole six-weeks grading period, so that was cool. I also still have the American flag given to my grandfather and then my father that the U.S. Marines gave the family after my Uncle Ralph was killed in Vietnam.

One of the cooler things that I see happen around this time of year, as well as around Memorial Day and Veterans Day (but ironically, not Flag Day, which is a real thing and was on June 14, so you missed it this year), is when all the little miniature U.S. flags start sprouting up around the community like little red, white and blue surprise lilies.

Well, Sunday morning, I was in the middle of our Sunday school lesson when Lisa O’Neal and a gaggle of kiddos stopped by the classroom. You might know Lisa as a Justice of the Peace on the Crittenden County Quorum Court, or as a member of Crye-Leike Realtors. There are other groups that do it, but Crye-Leike are the ones I know who put out the little flags. I have one that is close to 10 years old on my desk here just a couple of feet away being held proudly by an 18-inch-tall Boba Fett (from Star Wars) statuette.

Lisa and her crew were handing out flags door-to-door style, and I gladly accepted a new one. You see, I was out working in my yard outside the house we’re living in now a few months after we had moved in back in 2019, so I didn’t know every nook and cranny yet. As I was spraying some weed killer along the outside perimeter, I came across something I had not yet noticed… a flag holder.

I’m sure you know the kind I mean – it kind of looks like a large wall-mounted bottle opener. When I was a kid, pretty much every house in the neighborhood had one, usually near the door or on the corner of the front of the house. That’s where this one was. I remember the flag we had out there by our front door. I don’t know how long we had it or when it came down, but I definitely remember it.

A lot of the houses in our neighborhood still have them. Some even still fly a flag on them. Most of the ones who do not have them are ones who have replaced their old siding with vinyl siding some time over the course of the last 40 years. I suppose unless you specifically mention the flag holder, the guys installing the siding just take it off and chunk it. Just another one of those traditions beginning to fade away, I guess.

Anyway, since they were handing out the little U.S. flags, I took one and when I got home I stuck Old Glory in the flag holder there on the side of my house. It’s a little small, but I like seeing it hanging there. It won’t last the summer, I’m sure. The sun will bleach it out or the wind will knock it down or shred it. It might even get picked up and taken to Oz by a summer storm. Inevitably, it will come down. I’ll probably have an unofficial flag-retirement ceremony for it and wait for the next flag disbursement to put up another one.

In the meantime, I’ll let my colors show. I hope you will too. While we’re at it, if you do happen to find one of those little flags in your yard courtesy of Crye-Leike Realtors, the Boy Scouts or whoever, consider it a nice Happy Fourth of July gift… and dispose of it properly. Don’t leave it there to get knocked down, trampled on, chewed up by a dog or covered in mud.

And have a safe and happy Independence Day!

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