If the hijacked aircraft attacks on Washington and New York were strikes of lightning from a thundercloud of evil, then American flags like a fresh field of defiance springing up in the days after the storm.
It is a public embracing of Old Glory, not seen since a time when Americans squared off against Hitler and Stalin. The flag was a symbol of national pride at a time when the evil was easy to identify and what was right and what was wrong was rarely the subject of debate. The speechwriter, Peggy Noonan, says patriotism is a love of one’s country, binding all Americans together. The poet Horatio Smith, would have disagreed. “Patriotism,” he wrote, “is too often the hatred of other countries disguised as the love of our own.”
Michael Lind, author of “The Next American Nation”