Whenever I mention the building I grew up in, I invariably get, “Oooh, that’s the building with the flag” or “that’s a fucking big flag on that building.” It is. After September 11 and the proliferation of stars and stripes running up Park Avenue, any building without a flag was suspect in its lack of, shall we say, support. On an average, there were ten flags per city block. I grew up in 1088 Park off Eighty-Eighth Street. It hung up a flag the size of, lets say, all the other flags on the block put together. Upon my estimation, the flag measures seven by eleven feet. In fact, it may be size of my bedroom. Exact measurements are not subject to release by the superintendent at this time. It hangs above the green awning in a large circular window. When the other flags slowly came down after a sufficient mourning time, 1088’s flag remained prominently. A flag that size on an apartment building is always garish. The German flag is not even that large atop the Reichstag. However, with the onset of the Iraq war and the political climate in America become more of a farce, the flag has become, to put it as some inhabitants of the building might say, “in poor taste”. I write this to say there are some stirring of moans and groans behind the flag. Not everyone is pleased.
How did our building get the biggest damn flag on the block? Insider
information tries to explain it like this . . . Mostly to blame is the chairman of the building’s board, who makes decisions of this sort. “The chairman is a man from Texas.” Ohhh. “He served in the army intelligence in Vietnam.” There you go. I can imagine the sentiment of some board members. “He feels so strongly, why argue?” Or, “I’ve had a long day, I need a drink.” Or, “Enough is enough, let him have his flag.” Maybe the inhabitants just don’t realize that other people really notice. Although with a message that size hanging on the front door, that may be too lenient. To be fair, recently the flag is not raised all the time, but on specific American holidays, such as July Fourth. Maybe as Operation Iraqi Liberation or Freedom or whatever becomes a bigger mess and flagrant violations of law by the government are reported in the newspaper daily, the flag was a little too embarrassed to be paraded all the time.
So, at least there is some comfort in knowing that controversy exists. That not everyone in the building, probably very few, in fact, are American patriots who love the flying of this flag. The majority probably disapproves. But, I suppose the thesis of this is that flag is a metaphor for how people are acting in this country right now. They may not like the flag, and there are some that whine about it, but people are too “fill in the blank” to get together and take it down.