One of the most poignant moments in Joe Biden’s inauguration was when Lady Gaga gestured toward the flag on the Capitol dome at the words “that our flag was still there” during her rendition of the national anthem.
At any other time, this would have seemed gratuitous, but, given that this was only a couple of weeks after the insurrection of January 6th, it was very moving.
Not since the War of 1812, which gave us the words to our national anthem, had our Capitol suffered such an assault and flags were an important part of the symbolism on that day.
United States flags were torn down and replaced by Trump campaign flags.
A police officer was beaten with a flagpole bearing our flag.
In an image that has been shown countless times since the insurrection, a man carries the Confederate battle flag through the Capitol, something that did not happen during the Civil War itself.
It’s all been disconcerting and unsettling and tragic, especially when so many members of Congress have decided we should just “move on” without accountability for those responsible. The “move on” cohort is all Republican; one wonders if they somehow did not feel under threat for their lives as the Democratic members did during the assault. (To be clear, there are Republican members who want accountability, but, to my knowledge, there are no Democratic or Independent members who are in the “move on” group.)
There are efforts underway to clean and repair the damage at the Capitol and to reclaim the space for our true democracy and its flag. The image I am clinging to at the moment is one of the urn holding the cremains of Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of the insurrection, beside a United States flag, folded into a triangle and encased in a glass-fronted box, in the Capitol rotunda beneath the dome. He was lying in honor because he had sacrificed his life protecting his country and the Congress. His fellow Capitol police officers, other members of law enforcement, the President and First Lady, and many members of Congress joined his family in showing respect to him.
In doing this, they were also showing respect for our flag, which is still there despite the attempts of a violent mob to replace it.
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “flag.” Join us! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2021/02/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-6-2021/