A flag can matter. Sometimes even sitting in the wrong place. On the face of a moon. Beside a pew in a sanctuary.
The flag is a symbol. It is in search of unity. Looking for those to whom it belongs, to those who belong to it. For the flag will possess people. And maybe it should. If it possesses them to gather together and sing and cry and wait and worry and seek to heal the wounds of the wounded. If it inspires them to look into each other’s faces.
Each summer at the Pisgah Christian Chapel, in Brown County, Ohio, friends and strangers gather to eat food and listen to tales of history. They assemble in the shaded lawn between the historic brick building and a cemetery. Someone brings homemade ice cream. Someone brings slaw. A lot of people bring meats and casseroles. Everyone brings their willingness to be together. There is a featured speaker from some historical society or local club who will talk about some aspect of the early days of this part of America.
Inside the now retired and shuttered chapel is this flag. When I came into the chapel alone and saw it in the early evening light something shocked me. An unexpected feeling. I felt affection. This is the flag my friends wear on the right sleeve of their uniforms. This is the flag we sang to in my youth. This is the flag a father taught me how to fold and instructed me in its destruction in the case it would even but brush the ground. This flag is guarding us to make opinion.
Am I a fool to want to be with you even if we disagree? This flag is a symbol not of a politic and religion. It is in search of unity between you and me. It is of us and we are of it. No matter where we come from, how, or where we are going, we can be under it, assembled by it, safe in this agreement.