I was pleased that Baltimore was the center of national attention this weekend past as the War of 1812 was commemorated with a Sailabration. Tall ships sailed into the harbor, the Blue Angels flew overhead, and people flocked to see it all unfold. I guess that the enormousness of the crowd was daunting even to the crooks, because the celebratory weekend passed without major incident.
My memories of the weekend will all come from what we saw on television; I haven't been downtown since Nixon was in the third grade, or so it seems. I have a gigantic aversion to gigantic crowds, and so I hold with the teaching of Yogi Berra, who said, "That place is too crowded; no one goes there anymore."
In such a myriad of splendid images, there's bound to be one disturbing one, and for me it was the sight of a happy young family camped out in a shady knoll, using the American flag as a blanket upon which to place their cooler and their glutei maximi. A quick glance at the flag code shows that the flag is not supposed to touch the ground, let alone be sat upon by a family of four.
I didn't get the feeling that the family shown on the TV were trying to make some sort of political point as Abbie Hoffman did when he wore a shirt made of US stars and stripes on the Merv Griffin show in 1970. Chances are better that they consider themselves good and patriotic Americans and would be aghast at the thought of someone desecrating the flag.
You've got to love the irony there.