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The American flag is a symbol of the land of the free and the home of the brave. There it hangs at half-staff, again, commemorating the victims of another massacre. No, make that the victims of multiple massacres. Perhaps we should fly the flag permanently at half-staff to commemorate the passing of the nation we knew: a land of immigrants, a land of hope, a land of opportunity.

Sometimes I wonder, the next time the flag is at half-staff — next week, next month, perhaps — will it be commemorating someone I know or someone I love? Will it be me or you? Will anyone in Congress care?

Dolly Schroeder • Florissant