The orthodoxies of political correctness will not prevent the tattered, but still intact American flag from the World Trade Center from being raised during the opening ceremonies for the 2002 Winter Olympics despite the best efforts of those who view such a gesture as “too political” for the supposedly value-neutral Olympic Games.
When officials of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee broached the idea of incorporating the so-called “Ground Zero flag” into the opening ceremonies as a way of paying tribute to the victims and heroes of September 11, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) dismissed the proposal on the aforesaid “political” grounds. A suggested pre-game ceremony in which a group of U.S. athletes would have carried the flag behind the American delegation during the traditional procession of athletes was ruled out entirely.
Don Mischer, the executive producer of the opening day ceremonies in Salt Lake City, was quoted as follows: “We have to be careful not to focus too much on the United States … The world expects an international event that honors winter sport. People in the international community, they view things differently.” He also stated that an official with the IOC told him the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles were “so jingoistic” they “hearkened back to the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin,” which were presided over by Adolf Hitler and that he wanted to avoid the 2002 Winter Games from being viewed that way.
Apparently, such people see no difference between a free nation paying due respect to fallen heroes and making a statement on behalf of humanity and a fascist, totalitarian state’s over-the-top display of racial and national supremacy.
Luckily for the spirit of the Games and for common sense saner heads prevailed. The WTC flag will be brought forward during the opening ceremonies, which will include police and firefighters acting as color guards. And it will be raised during the playing of the national anthem.
Anyone who has a problem with that, we shouldn’t worry ourselves about.