A Flag is Forever And It Makes July Better


The American Flag hangs around all year reminding us of the country we live in and how we need to do our best at all times to be good citizens, recite the pledge when asked and take off our hats and put our hand over our heart when the Stars Spangled Banner or that Lee Greenwood song comes on.

It’s okay to iron.

Late June and early July is really the time when I start keying into displays of patriotism in preparation for my annual Fourth of July spectacular blog post. I realized this year there’s a competition between the people of Pittsburgh and Portland that few, to no people, realize is happening. The only documentation is within the confines of two blogs. I say every year, the Pittsburgh Orbit put the idea into my head to scour Portland for flag arrangements and displays of patriotism.

What else can be said?

Since then I’ve wondered: Who does do it better? Not to turn everything into a competition but it would require me to search far and wide across the whole city looking for fantastic flag conflaggulations instead of poking around in my fair corner of SW Portland to happen upon average Fourth of July decor. No need to keep score. The Pittsburghians are working hard but do they out decorate Portlandians? I’m not sure anyone cares. It occured to me that I write this post every year to direct traffic to the Pittsburgh Orbit for their flag coverage so people can decide for themselves.

Up A Driveway

Don’t run me over.

It’s up the driveway in the Crestwood neighborhood and stealthily planted in an old flower pot but this flag subtly whispers, “It’s the Fourth of July” and “hey, American Flag alert over here” and, oh yeah, “I’m here up the driveway ushering in the most American of all the holidays.” The flag looks fine sandwiched in between a retired banner and a bag of something. Old Glory never looked better even when it’s almost unnoticeable.

Slouching Towards Main Street

I’ve made it a point many times to admit that wind is a necessary component of the Fourth of the July. While wind will potentially carry sparkler sparks into dry forests, it also makes flags look their best. Without wind primping them up, flags limp around, almost to the point of looking depleted and dejected. Flag flyers have a responsibility to keep a fan nearby, when the wind isn’t on duty, to keep flags flying strong and proud.

A boldly folded flag.

In Multnomah Village, this flag is weighed down by its own expectations. Was it planted upside down? Neglected in some other way? It still offers that familiar color scheme while remaining a flag we can still all believe in. In the end, I hope this flag gets the help it needs, which, at the very least, would be a good flipping so it can fly true like so many examples of the red, white and blue.

Not a portrait of a car.

Again it’s all in the wind. This flag, while much appreciated, would look positively majestic in a roaring breeze. There’s not much the coffee shop below can do. It doesn’t matter much because like in other holidays and birthday presents it’s the thought that counts. What I’m saying is a floppy flag is better than no flag.

Patriotic Decorations: As Good As Flags

Red, White, Balloon.

The Multnomah Village toy store gets seasonally appropriate with a window display celebrating Independence Day. There are flag themed pinwheels, balloons of the appropriate trio of colors and those triangle-flag-streamer things suspended from the ceiling. While I’d hope to see a flag blowing in a fake breeze created by a fan set at a medium speed, I’ll take what I can get.

Not The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Stars in my eyes!

Walking into a Beaverton Fred Meyers, I was struck by the realization that it was Fourth of July fashion season. It hit me then that in my admiration for this get up with its reimagined stars and stripes I was at a loss for what this garment actually was. Whether it’s a sleep shirt, jumpsuit, giant shirt, poncho or July 4th/Elvis impersonator costume; that’s still under consideration. Most would admit it’s festive as hell and as bright and lively as a firework display.

Mono Americo

Proud American.

You might see this anywhere but in the Foster-Powell neighborhood this image appeared in the back window of the cab of a pick up truck. The flag takes on a completely different look in black and white but it still resembles the flag. The image keeps in mind the power of a good wind, if only in illustrative form, keeps a flag looking active.

A Quicker Display

Stars for home bars.

What could be more American than a flag in front of a liquor store? It’s a reminder that one of our freedoms is the ability to get alcohol whenever the liquor store is open. There’s nothing terribly exciting about this flag display other than I appreciate the idea behind it. I mean the store is making the effort to put up an Independence Day display. Streamers, bunting and balloons would surely be overkill when a flag pole makes a dignified statement on its own.

Ruffled Revolution

l was struck by the ruffled texture of these flags which formed a line along with aslie numbers in the Lake Oswego Ace Hardware Store. The shiny materials of these Neo-Old Glories clash with the fluorescent lighting. They create the kind of effect that had me proudly marching through a store as if I were promenading into a military ball.

It’s A Small World

Flags in the garden.

Add a mini flag and I’m sold. Did I really buy all these flower arrangements just for the flags? Nothing says Happy Fourth of July more than an American Flag of any size. A small flag still makes a giant statement and helps flowers get patriotic.

Decorations In Other Places

Who’s been flying my flag?

In Colorado a bear that appears to have taken an ax to the face endures having a flag taped to his body. Forest animals of all kinds are made to serve double duty as yard decor and flag holders and yet this bear smiles through the indignities.

Wild horses carry me away!

The Wild Horse Casino broke out the festive feather banners by mid June to get the Independence Day celebration started. Whether this photo is obscured by heat steam or sprinkler haze I can’t recall but the important thing is the banners contain all the necessary ingredients of excellent July Fourth decor in an elongated form. Stars, stripes, and shades of red, white and blue are all you need for a triumphant display.

Flags At Home

No canon made the hole.

If you hate Cornhole because you always lose then why do you find yourself every Fourth of July with a beer in one hand and a bean bag in the other. Do yourself a favor cut back on the drinking and start your serious training in early spring so you can improve your game. While your at it, invest in an especially patriotic game board to help you love America more. This one was a gift from a family member so it resides year round in West Portland Park.

Stripes to the left of me.

I include this photo because the stripes are the last thing I see pulling out of the garage. The flagpole was destroyed during the ice storm of the winter of 2020. The flag was moved and thumb tacked to the wall until our flagpole can be restored. In the meantime I’ll keep my eyes on the rear view camera and my view of the Stars and Stripes, minus the stars that I catch from the corner of my eye every time I go anywhere.

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For more Portland Orbit flag coverage see: https://portlandorbit.com/2020/07/04/a-journey-fourth-into-a-slight-history-of-portland-flag-waving/

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