Archive for Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Displays of patriotism popular in year after attacks

September 11, 2002

Three colors have become very popular in the past year and can be seen almost everywhere.

The red, white and blue of the American flag has dominated cars, homes, businesses and clothing since Sept. 11, 2001.

Since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. exactly one year ago today, Americans' patriotism has exploded and an abundance of flags and patriotic colors have sprung up across the nation as a sign of support.

But as the year wore on, fewer flags were seen flying and the red, white and blue colors became less apparent leaving some to wonder if the burst in patriotism was a passing fad.

But World War II veteran and American Legion member Archer Carlson doesn't think so.

"There's a natural tapering down of participation in everything," Carlson said. "People still care, but the intense desire to show it naturally diminishes. But that doesn't diminish the desire to be patriotic.

"People are still patriotic," he said. "The desire is still there."

Fred McCreary, also a World War II veteran and American Legion member, said Sept. 11 was a sort of patriotic eye opener for many Americans.

"We were just getting to be a complacent society," McCreary said. "But it kind of woke everybody up.

"There was a ripple effect across America," he said. "We all experienced it, even in little old Baldwin."

Carlson said there was a point after Sept. 11 that the patriotic theme became somewhat commercialized.

"Of course it was. Because that was a hot item," he said. "There was some commercialism, of course, but it wasn't in a disrespectful manner. Most of it was very appropriate."

While he appreciated seeing the increased flying of flags, McCreary said it was important to remember that true patriotism isn't just about the colors red, white and blue.

"Look at the last election, with its horrible turnout," he said. "That's not being patriotic.

"Patriotism is more than just wearing the flag on a lapel or putting it on an antenna," he said. "Patriotism is about volunteering and being a good neighbor."

Even though he said he understands not everyone displays their patriotism with a flag year round, Carlson said he encourages everyone to honor Sept. 11 with the red, white and blue.

"There's no reason why everybody shouldn't have a flag," he said. "I urge everybody to remember Sept. 11 and show their colors."

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