If you have followed the evening news on the Wichita television stations for the past week, you might think that I have an opinion to offer today about flag etiquette. Nah … too much has been said, and too few have listened. One sad part of this situation, once we get past the awful desecration, is that we will be hearing about this for years to come. Once you go online and post that picture or that opinion or that accusation, it is out there and it stays there.
Back in about 2003 or 2004 Marshall Auction Service did a sale for a couple from Lehigh who had collected antiques for years but were selling their home and down-sizing. We posted their sale bill on our Web site as we usually do, had the sale, dumped the sale bill, and moved on. Or so we thought. About four or five times a year we get a request for information about that “1950s-style porcelain Hamilton Beach Malt Mixer.” Now, you have to realize that this sale was six or seven years ago and that malt mixer was one item among hundreds on that particular auction and it was only one item among thousands we have posted online since then. We deleted the sale bill from our Web site as soon as the sale was over. But somehow, that one malt mixer is still floating around in cyberspace and when some performs a search for Hamilton Beach Malt Mixers, there it is.
The people who saw it wanted to know when we would be selling it (seven years ago), whether it was in working condition (don’t know, ask the guy who bought it), could they buy it outright (see the previous comment), and how much did we think it would go for (it is already gone and we don’t remember).
That is how I see this flag protest that has made headlines in newspapers and on blogs and Web pages across the country. For years we will be saying, “No, don’t show up this Wednesday … that event was way back in 2010.” City Administrator Mac Manning noted that one motorcycle rider showed up this past Wednesday looking for the rally. That was when the news was fresh and the guy still didn’t get it right.
Going beyond the fact that the issue took on a life of its own because of the power of the Internet, I hope that if our young vandals can read (and yes, I am going to go out on a limb here to state once again that I think it was a group of young people who desecrated the flags) they realize what kind of doo-doo they could have been in, had the rally not been canceled. Some of those people were angry beyond measure. Many are still angry.
If you are the parents of someone involved, you might want to persuade your child to suck it up and be accountable this time. This can go a long way toward making your kids accept responsibility and be decent human beings. Believe me. Been there, done that.
And so we try — again. Once more we hope the kids will take responsibility for their own behavior, not blame the next guy, but man up and do the right thing. I would love to tell this story with that kind of ending. The world is watching, folks.
— Susan Marshall