To the editor:
Last year, I had the misfortune of seeing an enormous red and black flag – and by enormous, I mean nearly four stories tall – adorn a building facing the waterfront a mere two blocks from King Street. Thankfully it was removed in mid-January this year before I could call attention to the issue.
However, you can imagine my dismay, when, while walking along the riverfront, as literally thousands of visitors and residents of Alexandria do every day, to see the red and black atrocity rear its hideous head again.
It was my understanding that the city has codes and regulations in order to prevent and control gaudy displays of this sort. I am truly shocked and chagrined that a flag of this size could be publicly displayed at all, let alone in such a high-traffic area and in such a visible location.
This display not only significantly detracts from Alexandria’s image, but it makes a mockery of the Alexandria government as it is clear that businesses are out of control and can do whatever they please. Do we not have standards that govern inappropriate displays such as this?
Keep in mind that even American flags, that merely approximate this size, adorn office buildings only a few significant days a year, such as on Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and 9/11. Afterward they are promptly removed.
The waterfront is an incredible public space, one that took not only years, but decades to come to fruition, and city government should be saluted for this amazing accomplishment. Please do not throw all that hard work away by letting one obnoxious flag make a laughing stock out of us all.
I urge the city to immediately get this situation under control; heaven forbid that it propagate among other business owners. Imagine if other buildings along the waterfront, or dare I say, our beloved King Street, were to be adorned with similarly sized and competing flags. To quote Colonel Kurtz, “The horror. The horror.”
You may think this melodramatic and alarmist, but it is a slippery slope and the smallest crack in the dike can cause a flood. And “small” could never be used to describe this appalling display.
-Anthony Priest, Alexandria