March 20 • 07:57 AM
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Flag still symbol of America at its best

Dear Editor,

Saturday morning was rainy, windy and cold. As I traveled through the hustle and bustle of Richmond around noon, late for an appointment in St. Clair, I came upon an object in the roadway on Main Street, two blocks north of Division. Because of the rain and wind, it was difficult to determine what the object was until I came directly upon it. Like the other drivers, I swerved to avoid it. No one stopped to move it or pick it up. It was an American flag! I don't know how long it had been there, but it was there. I took note of it and thought surely someone will stop and pick it up.

My first thought was what a sad state of mind our community is in to be able to drive right past that flag in the middle of Main Street America and no one cares. My mind then quickly turned to my father, who was a World War II vet, to the service men and women who are anywhere but here; to their families who want only to have them here; to the ones who will never be returning...I thought what a slap in the face to the millions of Americans that are putting their lives, and the lives of their families, on the line for our freedoms and liberties.

These thoughts were quickly going through my mind as I traveled the two blocks to Division, waited for the light, turned left and started on my way to St. Clair. After I traveled about five blocks I had to turn around to assure myself that someone picked up that flag. To my dismay, it was still laying right there, being rained upon, cars swerving to avoid it. I pulled my car up alongside the flag—against traffic—to collect it. It was obvious no car had run it over, just merely avoided it.

I do not presume to state that I know how our country as a whole feels and thinks, however, I do know our country is in turmoil. I feel the financial crisis, the worries of our futures and the futures of our children and grandchildren.

Between the exorbitant gas prices, mortgage crisis, Wall Street bailouts, inflation, etc., etc., etc., I believe we are angry, depressed, frustrated, scared and distrustful. I believe we are the citizens of a country who feel we have been abandoned by our leaders who have led us into the whole mess.

However, as citizens of a great nation, we cannot give up on ourselves and our country and lose respect for our country and flag. That flag, the embodiment of our freedoms and liberties, laying in the middle of Main Street, ignored by the masses, was a sad statement of where we, as a community, are and more important, may be headed.

If we lose respect for what our fathers and forefathers, servicemen and women and their families risk their lives and livelihood for, we have failed them and ourselves.

Kate Haemelinck, Riley Twp.
November 19, 2008

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