There are a variety of flags displayed on the front of homes in this area. A few blocks away there is even a street unofficially nicknamed “The Street of Flags,” where just about every house has (or used to have) an American flag waving from it. I’m not sure if that was deliberately planned or not, but you couldn’t help but notice all of them as you drove down that one block. Even when there was not a holiday, every single house had one. Over the years some different types of flags have been substituted, but it is still a notable alley of flags.
The majority of the houses in our neighborhood have front porches, many displaying waving banners that reflect our diversity. The most popular are the Stars and Stripes (we even have one very patriotic neighbor that has multiple flags of various sizes all over the front of the house, including in the windows, the garden and yard) but there is a variety of different ones too. Hanging from the homes on this street alone, there is a Ukrainian flag, an Irish flag and a flag with a picture of Jesus wearing a crown of thorns, his face superimposed on the American flag. There are occasionally holiday-themed art flags raised, and another one supporting the Marines. One neighbor regularly changes it up, depending on what is going on politically or happening in their lives at the moment. Around the corner someone has a happy-looking flag depicting flowers, a couple have rainbow banners, a few others have BLM flags and signs.
The truth is that I have never been that much into the flag-on-the-house thing. I’ve seen some artistically appealing ones, some beautiful garden flags, and also some rather kitschy ones. While I enjoy looking at the array of neighborhood decor, there really hasn’t been any opinion or any one thing I personally felt the need to publicly state on a flag. Years ago I did drape a string of Tibetan prayer flags across the front porch posts, signifying an intention of focus on balance and positivity. That lasted until they got so absolutely faded, ratty and covered with soot that they finally needed to come down, leaving my balance and positivity still in question. Since that time, there has been nothing announcing any ideals or feelings being generated from this Urban Porch.
I will say that in the days after 9/11, when suddenly there were flags everywhere, I was moved to put one on my car antennae. Seeing them all appear overnight in such tremendous numbers in the wake of trauma made a collective statement that was incredibly emotional and unifying.
The flag from my childhood – the one we grew up with that my Korean War veteran father put out during designated holidays – had forty-eight stars. Alaska and Hawaii hadn’t even made it onto the flag yet when I was a kid. How is that even possible? Really, I’m not that old! I feel like a dinosaur just writing it. It was in my possession for a number of years. I’m wondering who has that flag now…I’m guessing probably my brother.
Up until recently, if I was giving directions to anyone trying to find this house, along with the house number I might say “Look for the place with hanging plants and a bicycle chained to the porch”, or “Look for the house with all the poppies in front.” But now that has changed, because at this moment there is actually a flag hanging in front of this house too. It is a flag of the planet Earth (which I have to admit is very much giving off Whole Earth Catalog vibes to me, if anyone is old enough to remember the cover of The Whole Earth Catalog. Or maybe that’s just more dinosaur stuff). I wasn’t involved with choosing this flag or hanging it up, but now that it’s there, I like it and I’m rolling with it. New directions to this place – “Look for the house with the blue flag”.
My country – Planet Earth. That’s where I stand.
I love the idea of an Earth flag!!
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