I watched it fluttering in the wind and took a moment to wonder why. My mind flipped through the Rolodex of reasons. As the world has changed, so has the traditional symbolism.
In my life, it was a symbol of a country attacked by a foreign enemy. It was the symbol of a country in mourning. It was a symbol of a country united in the pain and anger of those crumbling towers, ruptured five-sided building, and the remnants of united citizen heroes scatter among a field in Pennsylvania.
It was a sign of those lost to the fury of war. It was a symbol of the blood shed in foreign lands. It was a symbol of the price paid, for the retaliation for the cowardice attack upon the innocent.
It was the symbol of great leaders and civil servants lost It was the symbol of solidarity and remembrance.
What it was today, what it seems to have become, is the symbol of the innocent lost, not to foreign hands, but the domestically twisted. What it has become is the symbol of yet another incident of mass violence perpetrated for nothing more than infamy. It is the symbol of the ill-conceived notion of fame and glory.
Why it was today I am not sure… not because I am not aware of the violence perpetrated, but because I am not sure which one…
Today I looked upon the 50 stars and 13 stripes, symbolizing the 50 united states and 13 original colonies. Today I watched as it fluttered in the wind. I watched as it rested not high atop the poles it was affixed upon, but halfway. I watched and wondered how often it must rest there, how its location was so common, and how its symbolism is almost lost.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.