On Wednesday, elected representatives will discuss the restoration of Maine’s first flag, replacing the current official version featuring the state’s seal. To some, flags are regarded as inconsequential and a waste of our elected officials’ time. On the contrary, there is no better time to consider it.

Rep. Sean Paulhus, D-Bath, has drafted legislation for the state to replace the existing state flag, left, with the version that flew over the state from 1901 to 1909. File photos/Portland Press Herald

Under existential threats, our elected officials at the Continental Congress in 1777 found the time to adopt our nation’s flag while they went on winning the Revolutionary War. In 1814, on a mission for then-President James Madison, Francis Scott Key was imprisoned on a British ship and witnessed the bombardment of Baltimore. Under duress he managed to write a poem about what he witnessed that went on to become our national anthem. Through rockets’ red glare, our Star-Spangled Banner has given hope and pride to those fighting for our freedom.

Likewise, the Pine and Polaris of Maine may inspire, unite and give hope to Mainers haunted by a global pandemic and terrified by political divisions. With so much pessimism and division going on, especially at the federal level, restoring the first Maine flag is a positive gesture we can make toward building community.

Ensuring the safety and well-being of Mainers undoubtedly comes first and foremost, but in the Pine Tree State we elect ambitious and vigorous leaders to represent us. Yes, we need a response to COVID-19, but after months of isolation, unemployment and so much uncertainty, we deserve some positive news out of Augusta, too.

Jeremy Hammond

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