Every morning we gathered around the flagpole for Colors. The whole camp, standing in a circle, watched as the two flag-bearers carefully unfolded the flag, hooked it to the flagpole, and hoisted it up. Then it was time for breakfast.
Every evening the day ended there again, with Taps. The flag was lowered, ritually folded, and carried to its resting place in the Playhouse.
You were never supposed to let it touch the ground.
I learned all these things the first time I became a flag-bearer. I was nervous, with everyone watching; afraid I’d let a corner slip.
I see flags left up all night these days, and even though I believe patriotism comes dangerously close to jingoism, the sight makes me cringe a little – just like, though I’m about as far from being a Catholic anymore as one can get, the thought of chewing the Eucharistic host still bothers me.
And who knew that these symbols were so similar? The host not only represents, but is considered to be Christ’s body; the flag, as Congress declared in 1949, “represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.”