May 29, 2020

The Curious Case of the Flags on Lyme Street

The flags are flying again on Lyme Street.

The flags are flying again on Lyme Street.

After vanishing unexpectedly in the days following the Old Lyme Midsummer Festival, the flags have returned to Lyme Street, to the apparent approval of a majority of the town’s residents.  Back up since last Friday, these Old Glories will stay until Veteran’s Day in November, just like last year.

The reappearance of the flags has been lauded by a significant number of the townspeople; likewise, the prior removal of the flags was vocally reviled.  After noticing that the Lyme Street flags had been taken down, numerous Old Lyme residents took action, turning to various news sources, social media, and the town government with their complaints.  A mere week or so after the flags’ removal, their efforts had succeeded.

As John Seckla, local owner of the Old Lyme Barber Shop, told LymeLine, “Just talk to the townspeople. They wanted them [the flags] back, so now, they’re back.”

For many, the flags are a show of respect for our nation’s soldiers and veterans, and a sign of gratitude for their service.  One Old Lyme resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, writes in an email to LymeLine, “…[the flags are] a reminder of all our men and women overseas and all of our veterans.  The flag represents freedom and reminds me of how hard our men and women have fought and are fighting to keep us free.”

The writer also considers the flags a mark of national pride and American patriotism; he adds, “There is nothing gaudy about being a American and showing it.  What the American flag represents is more than enough reason for them to be flying high and proud!”

Some townspeople share these sentiments, evidenced by Barbara Crowley, local owner of The Chocolate Shell, who writes on her business’s Facebook page, “… I am glad and proud to report that the flags are back up! … Long may they fly!!”

Formulated and installed by the Old Lyme Fire Department, the flags flew for the first time last summer, with the intention to hang them from Memorial Day through Veteran’s Day. However, after receiving several worried complaints that the flags were getting tangled up and overshadowing smaller, personal flags, among other things, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder tells LymeLine that she made a compromise with the Fire Department last fall, so that the flags would only fly during holidays and major events for the summer of 2014.

OLFD signYet, when the flags were removed after the Midsummer Festival two weeks ago, as per the aforementioned compromise, there was a strong backlash among the Old Lyme community. After asking that all flag-related complaints be sent directly to her, Reemsnyder reports, “The response I got was overwhelmingly in favor of having the flags up.”

Reemsnyder further emphasizes that “I don’t like making decisions based on a single opinion,” and that the decision to remove the flags was not the result of a complaint by one lone individual, but rather the compromise with the Fire Department from last fall.  She would also like to remind the townspeople that the flags will be taken down before any major weather events, especially high-speed winds.

But for now, the flags are here to stay – with the obvious blessing of the Old Lyme Fire Department, who are expressing their appreciation publicly for the re-hanging of the flags.

But what do you, dear readers, think?  Are you happy that the flags will now remain up from Memorial Dy to Veteran’s Day every year?  Feel free to comment below …

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