As I write this morning, I am in complete awe of the chaos that is taking this country by storm. And maybe that is why this bit of news hit me so hard, returning a small glimmer of hope for both America and humanity as a whole.
As I am sure you are aware, the past few weeks have been filled with dangers of many kinds. From the ever-spreading coronavirus that has crippled our economy to the riots that now plague the streets of our cities, America is serious trouble.
Its people are turning on each other, taking their freedoms for granted, and seemingly not caring about all that it took for us to become one of the greatest nations on earth.
Thankfully, some haven’t forgotten, as this story proves.
On Saturday, as riots were taking place throughout the nation, Reno, Nevada’s City Hall, was attacked. It began, as many “demonstrations” do, with peaceful protests outside City Hall of about 2,500 people. By early evening, only about 200 or so were left, but these were not quite so diplomatic.
It wasn’t long before fires were started, and people began forcing their way into the building, looting and destroying items.
In the aftermath, it was believed that an American Flag of historical importance was lost in all the chaos, as it was missing.
The flag used to fly high over the U.S.S. Reno, a Navy battleship used in World War II to fight against our enemies in and around Japan. According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the ship supported a multitude of carriers, sending airstrikes against enemy forces on the islands outside of Japan. In addition, it was recorded to have protected an American fleet against aerial attacks at Iwo Jima.
The flag, as a symbol of the days of old, where honor and integrity still existed, was a treasured possession of the city and kept on display on City Hall’s first floor. Officials assumed it was one of many banners and flags that had been stolen and burned during the day’s anarchy.
A local reporter, Kenzie Margiott, covered the aftermath, reporting that the flag had been lost to them.
However, only a few days later, the flag was returned.
It arrived anonymously in a box addressed to Margiott at the television station she works for on Tuesday. Inside the box, the flag lay unharmed and in pristine condition. Attached was a small handwritten note.
“Needed protecting. Looters were flag burning.” The note, so humbly written, was signed, “RIP George Floyd.”
Margiott immediately contacted Reno’s vice mayor Devon Reese about her recently received package and had it returned to its rightful owners.
She also thanked whoever had so thoughtfully protected this piece of our history on her Twitter account, saying, “I am speechless. A box with my name written in Sharpie was anonymously delivered to the station this afternoon inside, the flag from the U.S.S. Reno that went missing from city hall during Saturday’s riots. I’m so thankful.”
Vice Mayor Reese made a statement about the remarkable recovery of the flag, stating, “As a country and a community, we’ve been having a rough couple of days. The idea that someone returned the flag just gave me a little more faith in humanity.”
I imagine Reese being where many of us are currently, completely in shock that a nation such as ours, built on the tried and true principles of “liberty and justice for all,” is now tearing itself apart.
For decades upon decades, America was something to be proud of, a country founded on the idea that all men should be free to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” People used to stand for that, putting America before race, before party, and definitely before their own selfish desires.
And it was this selflessness that made America great, that lead the world into an age of democracy where everyone no matter where you came from were given a chance to live the American dream.
But now, watching as so many of our brave warriors’ children’s children tear out those foundations, we are losing hope.
And that is precisely why mementos of those days, now barely remembered, have even more importance and should hold such significance.
Thankfully, there are still a few who believe in those days of Old Glory.