I was teaching riding lessons in Weston, Connecticut. The next town over is Westport, a famed artistique community which parades its oh so bien pensant sensibilities proudly. One of the ways it does so is to decorate the town on "United Nations WEEK" with the flags of all nations. April 27 fell during U. N. week, and I was in Westport that day on some errand at about noon.
I drove past the Cuban flag. I drove past the Red Chinese flag. I drove past the Soviet flag. I'm sure on League of Nations day in 1941 they had the Nazi and Japanese flags up.
And then I got to the very middle of the bridge over the river.
I could no more have not done what I did than I could have stopped myself from breathing. I braked the car and got out. While the BMW and Mercedes drivers honked, I climbed up on the railing of the bridge. So no one would think this was a result of a gust of wind, I broke off the top half of the 8 foot 2x2 flag pole, ripped the banner away and threw it in my trunk. With a cheery wave I drove off.
There were the predictable IRATE OUTRAGED letters in the local rag. My letter of explanation to the rag was not printed.
I called the police to turn myself in a couple of days later. The man who answered turned me over to "the detective handling the case".
"Lieutenant Soandso here. You want to turn yourself in for the flag vandalism? Where are you, we will come and pick you up."
"You do know what flag it was that you will be arresting me for tearing down, don't you?"
"No, what was it?"
I told him.
"Um, I think you are mistaken. No crime was committed on the Westport Bridge. We don't need to know where you are. Thank you for calling and have a GOOD DAY."
April 27, 1980.
Proud of it. I'd do it again.
(True, it was the old Shah one, but the Revolution was a year past. The communists on the town planning board just hadn't access to the new one yet, or were too ignorant to know it had changed. They meant Iran.)