- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

The images of destruction, fear and unimaginable loss that dominated Tuesday's terrorist attacks gave way yesterday to a different sight around the metropolitan area. The American flag — hung at half-mast, draped from windows and planted in yards — was on defiant display.
Americans who wonder if the attacks have shaken the nation's spirit or damaged its resolve need not worry: Homes and businesses throughout the District, Maryland and Virginia exhibited the symbol of American strength and pride.
"If anything, these heinous acts will strengthen our national pride," said Kathleen Flood, a lifelong D.C. resident.
Mrs. Flood, 73, and her husband, Thomas, 75, fly their flag every day.
"When the law changed in 1989 allowing people to fly the flag at night we were overjoyed," Mrs. Flood said.
The Floods vividly remember Pearl Harbor, and they say the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center were reminiscent of that day of infamy.
But this time, they say, things will be different for the American people.
"This time, though, it is a war against civilization, and back then we knew who the enemy was," Mr. Flood said.
Technology, too, has changed things. The implosion of the World Trade Center's twin towers and the yawning hole in a side of the Pentagon flickered unceasingly on televisions, images branded on the nation's collective consciousness.
"During World War II there were people who didn't know about the attack until weeks later, now we always know almost the moment anything happens," she said.
Dorma Joyner, 77, of Northeast has been watching the events unfold on her television set since Tuesday afternoon. She too, displays her Stars and Stripes every day.
"I'm glad to be an American," said Mrs. Joyner, who is black. "And even though I haven't always liked the way they treated my people, it's important for us to realize that this is our home, and we shouldn't take our freedoms for granted."
Mrs. Joyner is aware of America's shortcomings on racial issues, but in times of national tragedy, she said, differences should be set aside.
"When it comes down to this, being attacked, we are all in this together," she said. "Blacks, whites, Hispanics and people of many different races died in those attacks and we should work to instill that pride in our children, our brothers and sisters, and if need be, the children should make their parents understand it."
The American flag has been a symbol of American pride since Betsy Ross completed the first in 1776. Over the next 225 years the flag would change from a ring of 13 stars and 13 stripes, to 50 stars representing all the states in the union and 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies.
"I have grown to love this flag, which is why I display both," said Reynaldo Villadego, a Venezuelan immigrant who displays the American flag and that of his homeland.
"It is vital for [immigrants] to display patriotism right now, no matter where they came from. It's not easy to become a citizen of this nation, and why would anyone work so hard and not show their pride?" he asked.
Mr. Villadego explained that nationalism is different in America because it truly is a melting pot of different cultures, religions and nationalities. But "at the end of the day, it all comes down to defending your home and the homes of your neighbors, because you would want them to do the same," he said.
Pat Woofter of Silver Spring usually displays her flag on holidays such as Memorial Day and Independence Day. After the tragedy, out of respect for those who died, she has decided to keep her flag up and not take it down until she feels the wounds have healed.
"My daughter goes to New York University, and I was so relieved to hear from her yesterday, but we both reminded each other of how sick we felt knowing how many had been killed," said Mrs. Woofter, 54.
Damon Jackson, 23, a recent Howard University graduate, showed his love for the country yesterday by wearing a 3-by-5-inch flag sticker on his shirt.
"I thought that I would start a trend by exhibiting our national symbol on me," he said.
"I wanted the people I worked with to know that I bleed red, white and blue just like they do," said Mr. Jackson, an employee of a Northwest public relations firm.
Other signs of resolve could be seen around the region.
At King Lincoln-Mercury-Suzuki in Gaithersburg, a sign that typically promotes the dealership's sales read, "God Bless America."
One patriotic soul put up a banner reading "We are not afraid" on the Colesville Road overpass along Interstate 495.
In a more sobering display, firefighters and rescue workers at the Pentagon hung a large American flag from the roof of the building yesterday evening, near the damage from Tuesday's attack.


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