Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs and Michele at A Small Victory have both provided means for ordinary folks to tell their personal perceptions of the September 11, 2001 attacks. I told my story at LGF and here.
That got me to thinking about a particular trend that occurred in the aftermath: American flags were everywhere all of a sudden.
Initially, I was heartened by the proliferation of American flags and flag stickers on cars. Every street vendor in LA had flags for sale. After something so vile, people began to see how much this country really meant to them and wanted to show it, or so I thought.
But as the months wore on, I noticed that some of the flags on the car antennas were becoming frayed—an anathema to a military member; torn and/or dirty flags are to be disposed of properly (last item)—and the stickers were fading due to weather.
The flag fad had faded. (Sorry for the alliteration.)
A year after the attacks, I decided that I wanted to buy a flag sticker for my car. Not a street vendor in sight had one. I did end up finding and buying one, at the Base Exchange, of course. But then I decided that my military sticker tells anyone all they needed to know about me.
Asshat Outs Himself
That day, watching the ABC News coverage of the attacks—no satellite then--I listened as Peter Jennings suddenly went into a petulant whine about the whereabouts of the president. Imagine the gall of President Bush! How dare he not send the esteemed Mr. Jennings an itinerary of Air Force One’s flight plan in the wake of the worst enemy attack on American soil! Who does the president think he is?
In disgust, I switched to NBC or CBS for the coverage (don’t remember which). From that day to this one, the sound of Jennings’ voice has had a rather bile-producing effect on me.
Love and No-Love for the Brother/Sisterhood
Since the day, my military compatriots and I regale each other with accounts of the spontaneous outpourings of gratitude we get from civilians. Believe me, it’s appreciated, folks, though, unlike this guy, the most dangerous thing that I’ve had to do since 9/11 is drive on Southern California freeways.
The love is especially cherished by those of us who were in the military when we routinely caught crap (see my account of being called the n-word while in uniform.)
In this vein, the worst crap that I’ve caught recently, was flung one morning at a Starbucks™ close to UC Riverside. The counter person, a young blond woman with hair nearly as short as mine, had a smile for everyone; everyone except for my BDU-clad self, that is. When I stepped to the counter to place my order, I noticed that her smile had changed to a rather sour expression. So, just to give her a little needle, I smiled and gave her a chipper “Good Morning!” loud enough to be sure that she heard it. (Take my word for it, a smile and a “good morning” are not easy to be had from me before my first cup of coffee, though I try to treat customer service personnel well.)
No answer. Heh. So, I placed my order--Venti soy mocha; no whip, please--she gave me the total and I paid her. I capped it off with an exaggerated “thank you! Have a nice day!” Still nothing from the little twit. Laughing, I turned around and, before I could make my way to the receiving counter, the man behind me, who obviously had seen the whole little drama, stuck out his hand, said, “thank you for your service,” and shot Ms. Personality a look of disgust.
I was floating the rest of the day.