The NYT writes on a 25 year tradition of large American flags and asks what they mean in kind of a snarky way on the anniversary of American independence:
Once the gaudy lure of attention-seeking car dealerships or other roadside attractions, big flags have found a comfortable home inside the ballparks, arenas and raceways of American sporting events…The trend began nearly 25 years ago, spiked after 9/11 and now seems simply part of the cultural backdrop…the flags raise something else — the question of whether a bigger flag is a more patriotic one, or just a bigger one.
Roger Kimball notes a somewhat older tradition of large American flags — this one dating to September 1814 and the occasion of the Battle of Baltimore, the bombardment that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner”:
We learned about the origins of the war, about how the British took and burned Washington, about how at last a thousand U.S. troops under George Armistead at Fort McHenry successfully defended their bastion against the British naval onslaught, saving Baltimore and turning the tide of the war…The British ships, anchored out of range of Armistead’s cannons, pounded the fort with mortar and Congreve rocket fire over the course of twenty-five hours. Sometime before sunrise, the bombardment suddenly stopped. Key was uncertain of the battle’s outcome until dawn broke and he saw the American flag fluttering above Fort McHenry. (When he had taken command, Armistead asked for an extra large flag so that “the British would have no trouble seeing it from a distance.”)
You may decide which story seems more edifying on this 4th of July. (HT: Protein Wisdom)