How can a flag be too big?
Avon seems to have a flag fuss. The developer of Village at Avon, Magnus Lindholm and his company Traer Creek, have installed a 150-foot flagpole and it seems to have some people concerned that Western civilization will some how be damaged as a result. Some people have taken exception to the design of the flagpole – it’s too large and too massive. Large and massive perhaps, but this flagpole’s lineage is something special. The tripod mast design was present on American battleships at the start of World War II. It was the design of the mast on the battleship Arizona that lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor. The same mast was on the battleships Utah and Oklahoma that also still rest there. The Nevada, the only battleship which got under way on Dec. 7, 1941, also had this type of mast.The color of the flagpole seems to also be contentious. However, it too has a historic reference. It is the exact color of the blue of the American flag. That color stands for vigilance, perseverance and justice – virtues that I hope are still present in our society, and certainly still worthy of representation. The flag that will be flown from this pole has also been mentioned in the press. That flag will be the Garrison flag of the United States, which is 20 feet high by 38 feet wide. This is the size that federal statutes specify for a pole 90 to 100 feet tall or taller. Finally, there has been some comment that this display of a large flag on a big pole is some how commercialization of the flag for the benefit of either Wal-Mart or Home Depot or Traer Creek or Magnus Lindholm. That clearly is a matter of opinion. However, Mr. Lindholm and Traer Creek have spent quite a bit of money on the flag and flagpole, and I doubt very much whether they had commercial motives. But if flying the flag is perceived by some as a commercial activity, we (or at least they) really have a problem. Today, we have 130,000 men and women at the sharp end of the knife in Iraq, another 15,000 in Afghanistan. These people are there fighting and dying because of decisions made by the government of this country, which that flag represents. They may not be dying for a flag large or small, but they surely appreciate seeing the flag fly over the country they represent. Mr. Lindholm has put up a big flagpole and wants to fly a big flag from it. Both pole and flag will be on his land, and if this shows the support of even one person for those troops, it should be applauded. Whether we, as citizens, agree with his decision to show patriotism in this fashion is not in question. Such disagreement is our right – one of the rights that for over 200 years our government has sent people to war under this flag to guarantee. Similarly, flying a flag on his property is Mr. Lndholm’s right. While debates such as this are a healthy part of our political society, they, like all debates must end. People who oppose this flagpole may, or may not, be just as patriotic as the next guy. Regardless of opinions, flags, poles, Traer Creek, Magnus Lindholm, or even the war in Iraq, hopefully the Avon Town Council will come to the belief that in the current day and time, no flag can be too big.Dan Smith is a professor at Colorado Mountain College. His commentary reflects his personal views.
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