So as your faithful servant sat on the patio today, enjoying breakfast and the glory that is a California morning this time of year, a dark thought crept into our consciousness. It appeared that only our townhouse and maybe two or three others were displaying a flag to mark Memorial Day. How terrible, we thought. None of the 50 or so other neighbors could be bothered to display their recognition of Memorial Day, and a remembrance of the fallen warriors whose sacrifice makes it all possible. I hope that flagpole installation really makes a resurgence as not seeing flags around the neighborhood is such a shame, especially when considering what it stands for.
We remember how, immediately after 9/11 the whole place was awash in American flags raised by my incensed neighbors in order to display their determination to resist the barbarians who had just leveled the WTC twin towers and killed some 3000 of our fellow citizens.
But it didn’t last. By degrees, the flags got fewer and the determination to get even for this atrocity diminished. How sad, I thought. But then it came — the clear sound of a saxophone solo playing the Star Spangled Banner. It was a neighbor, a professional musician, who every national holiday, without fail, stands by the pool and plays the national anthem to remind us of the significance of the day, to the cheers and applause of our neighbors.
So maybe all is not lost. True, as time goes on, the flags being displayed are getting fewer ad fewer (down to three this year), but like that star-spangled banner of our national anthem, they are still there to remind us of the solemnity of the day, and of the fallen heroes whose sacrifice keeps us free.