Photo Essay

Flags of recovery

Wave hello

Flags symbolize different things to different people. Certainly, pride in one's country is foremost, especially after traumatic events. Flags being raised amid the devastation were a powerful symbol of independence and recovery after 9/11.

They are also routinely displayed in whatever fashion people can manage after a major disaster. A flag propped up in the rubble of Hurricane Camille became an enduring symbol of the Mississippi Coast's resilience after that disaster in 1969.

Once again, flags in the recovery area have been displayed in our small town and along the Mississippi Coast in the aftermath of Katrina in 2005.

Whether you consider them patiotic, jingoistic, false symbols of hope or inappropriate use of nationalism, they're out there, especially in small-town America.

Some are new, such as the flags that have flown over the U.S. Capitol given to winning bettors in the charity crab races at Our Lady of the Gulf's annual July 4 Crab Festival in Bay St. Louis.

Some are old, such as the one in a picket fence that the owner may not even know is still there three years after the storm.

Some fly above the tents at Bridge Fest, commemorating the reopening of the vital bridge between Hancock County and Harrison County.

Why the flag gets such a workout is a mystery to some, and it is often spurned abroad. But, for better or worse, it seems to provide people with a unifying force and comfort in times of need.

As we rebuild, new flags and newly discovered flags become a common symbol.

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