I’m Afraid It’s Frayed

Frayed flag Old Salem Church Cemetery

In May, when I was confused about what month it was, I started going through my archives for flag photos. There were plenty of beautiful, uplifting pictures of backlit American flags that made your spirits soar.

Then, I started running across flags that looked like this one flying in the Old Salem Cemetery near Millersville.

I let a month go by

Frayed flag at Sears 02-12-2019

By the time June came along, I felt like I had been thrust back in the late ’60s, except with a pandemic mixed in. On top of that, the economy was taking a nosedive.

Sears was still open on February 12, 2019, but you could have fired a cannon down the aisles and not come close to hitting anyone. The tattered flag flying somewhere between half mast and full mast captured the feel of the place. It has since closed.

Storm clouds gather

Jackson gas station 4/29/2017

I was excited when gas prices at this Jackson station hit $2.10 – I think they might have gone below $1.50 for awhile – but storm clouds were gathering.

The Occupy Wallstreet movement died out because of a lack of focus, leadership and widespread acceptance. Tactical blunders played a part, too: you don’t launch sit-ins with winter coming on.

The protests that are hitting the street today have legs – literally and figuratively. The Black Lives Matter slogan has been adopted by blacks, white, young and old. It’s about more than race. It’s a general dissatisfaction with government.

The marches aren’t just in big cities, they are taking place right here in Southeast Missouri, an area not known for political activism.

I can live with this flag in this context

Bloomfield Confederate Memorial 01-27-2013

I’m not a fan of the Confederate flag, but I don’t have any problem with it flying over the Confederate Memorial Cemetery in Bloomfield. I take every visitor there when they come to Cape.

I DO wish someone had fixed the American flag so it didn’t look like the international signal for distress.

Both flags were in bad shape my first visit

Bloomfield Confederate Memorial Cemetery 04-13-2011

The memorial contains tombstones representing all of the Stoddard county Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. It’s a sobering display, particularly when you read the last words of Private Ladd, who was chosen at random to die to revenge the death of some Union soldiers who were executed.

A tattered flag caught my eye

North County Park 11-11-2010

I’ve spent a lot of time admiring the flags on major holidays at North County Park. Each of the hundreds of flags represents a deceased veteran who served in a war era or in combat.

On one of my first visits, I was disappointed to see one of the flags was a bit yellow; it had a few holes, and the edge was fraying. Just then, a gentle breeze stirred the flag and I saw a square field of stars. This was a 48-star flag. Alaska gained statehood in 1959 and caused the rows of stars to be staggered. This flag could be as much as half a century old. I’d love to know the story behind it

I stopped being concerned about the condition of the cloth.

I don’t have any right to criticize other flags

Frayed Steinhoff flag 05-14-2020

Three or four years ago, if not longer, I decided to fly a lighted American flag in front of the house 24/7. I wanted to demonstrate that it was MY flag, too. You’re welcome to salute it, kneel in front of it, honk at it, or ignore it. I’ll be cranky if you try to burn it, but I’m kind of protective of all my things that way.

I told Road Warriorette Shari, who takes care of my gardening duties since I take a scorched earth approach to them, that the rose and other bushes in the planter beneath the flag needed to be trimmed back. She’s been social distancing in St. Louis, so they’ve grown tall enough that they sometimes snag the flag.

It’s happened enough that there’s a hole in the fabric. I’m afraid I’m going to have to retire it.

I hope we’ll be back to bright flags and blue skies before long

Veterans Day flag display North County Park 11-11-2016

Unfortunately, I’m afraid we’re going to see more deaths from the COVID-19 virus, more economic woes, and more people taking to the street. Let’s hope my fears are groundless.

Here’s a collection of flag pictures from happier times.

3 Replies to “I’m Afraid It’s Frayed”

  1. My mother could not stand to see a tattered flag flying. If she saw a tattered flag at a business, she called the business to ask them to replace the old flag. Then she made a point to drive by businesses she had called, to see if they replaced the flag.
    Since she is gone, I have taken up the ‘flag duty’.

  2. I just stumbled on your blog, totally by accident. Was looking for confluence photos of the Mississippi and the Illinois rivers, and during the course of the search your blog came up. Spent a night in Cape Girardeau-slept in the gazebo down by the water (I was just passing thru). We met some nice locals and the next day one of the two came back with breakfast!!! We also met a person in a wheelchair, I think looking for frogs, not really sure about that tho, but they were completely lit up with all sorts of lights and tubing, if I remember correctly. A little startling, as we were half asleep, but it was all good.

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