Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Independence Day


Last night I forgot to bring in our flag, and this is what I found this morning.

The police report calls it attempted arson. It was probably a crime of opportunity, some stupid kids walking by with matches or lighters. The flag was out, not visible from the house. I wonder if they were surprised to see how fast it burned. Did they linger to see the black, melted drops fall to the concrete? Did they even consider what might have happened had the flames reached the overhang? Probably not. Probably stupid kids, neighbor kids, perhaps, because who else is roaming this street at night?

This flag was given to my boys by their late grandfather, who came to this country to escape brutal tyranny in Europe. It was lovely, sewn stripes and embroidered stars, and we'd had it for nearly 30 years. I don't know if we can find one like it, but we've already hung a cheaper, printed cotton flag in its place.

Flag burning is a form of protest, but the protester usually brings his own flag. He would have no right to burn my flag. I don't imagine that the burner of this flag thought that deeply, no idea of protest, if he had any idea at all. It was stupid thoughtless destruction. Stupid.

I have started scraping the mess from the driveway. A grapefruit knife seems to work best. It will be a long and boring job, but I don't want reminders of last night. I wonder if the culprit will pass by and giggle to himself or if he'll even see a connection to his actions. Stupid, just stupid.