To the Editor:

I kindly disagree with Heidi Martinson's opinion of some of the flags in our city, where she argued that, "If they will not be maintained properly it is better to not fly them at all." (R-E, May 7)

Let's not forget that our pride does not lie in a clean and pressed fabric. The way that I see it, a tattered flag is more likely to remind me of the sacrifices our service men and women make, the imperfections of our government, and the fact that regardless of the sacrifices and imperfections, it is still my country -- one that I will always love.

To me it does not represent physical beauty, but a beauty that is perhaps better represented by honesty of reality. The reality is that life, death, war, and sacrifice are not clean and pressed. The beauty of that flag lies in the promise of unity and freedom, and it reminds us of the Americans who defend and protect us both here and abroad.

Certainly we are to take great care of our flag. But if the colors begin to fade or the edges become tattered, and you cannot manage acquiring a replacement, do not stash it away.

That, my friend, is still my flag; it is still your flag, and it should remain in the sky where it belongs.

Liz Marroquin

Red Wing