The freedom to be crass

It’s Memorial Day, and I celebrated it by doing as little as possible. I considered walking a few blocks to see my nephew march in the Hampshire Memorial Day parade, but it was thundering and lightning at 10 a.m. so I abandoned that idea.

My Beloved raised Old Glory in front of our house in honor of the day. Some of our neighbors also hung flags. They were a nice Americana touch in our little cookie-cutter neighborhood with the perfectly manicured lawns and hanging flower baskets on the porches.

As I ran around town early this morning (yeah, couldn’t sleep on this lovely little vacation Monday), I ran past a house with little American flags planted every two feet around the perimeter of the yard. This homeowner also had a flag flying by his front door, but apparently that wasn’t enough — he needed 36 little icons of freedom lining his property like a dotted line: “Cut here for a coupon to crass.”

Perhaps each of these flags represented something or someone to this homeowner. But I doubt it. He just doesn’t know when to stop — if a little is good, a lot must be better. And gosh, they were such a deal at Wal-Mart!

But symbols of patriotism aren’t like meatballs on spaghetti (or perhaps I should use a more American analogy … like poppy seeds on a Chicago-style hotdog). We don’t need more symbols. We need more action. Do you vote? Do you pay your taxes? Do you thank individual members of the armed forces? Do you appreciate your freedom to speak, worship and bear arms, and do you tolerate your fellow Americans who do the same?

While I don’t think Mr. Perimeter of Flags has much taste in lawn ornamentation, I appreciate that he and I have the freedom to celebrate the day differently.

I salute … well, I salute at least one of your flags.

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