As 2021 ends, flags lowered to half staff seem like a fitting symbol all around.
The actual reason for this one wasn’t immediately apparent, even to people who follow the news. You had to look it up online, and it wasn’t for the late John Madden of football fame, who died two days ago.
It was for Harry Reid, the former senator from Nevada and Democratic leader in the Senate, who died Tuesday at the age of 82.
Governor Brown had ordered the flags lowered at public institutions in honor of the senator. She had done the same earlier after the death of Bob Dole, the former Republican senator and presidential nominee.
We lower the flag when distinguished Americans in public life leave us. We don’t do it to mourn the troubled periods of time we have gone through. Maybe we should.
Oregon, the country and the world have gone through the second year of a great contagion, and it is still going on, though apparently not claiming as many lives as before. This, among other things, is mostly how we will remember 2021. Just like 2020.
Somebody asked me about an event in my life that happened in 2019. I couldn’t remember the date, but I remembered that “it was before Covid-19.”
People my age never expected, during our early years, ever to write a current date that ends in 2022.
Now that it’s here, all we can do is hope — and do whatever is in our power to do — that it turns out no worse than the year we just had. (hh)