The Coos Bay city council this week considered making a major alteration to a downtown display that’s been in place for nearly a quarter of a century – the flags waving above the boardwalk and Central Avenue.
They were an impressive monument when erected in 1991, flags representing 34 nations around the world. They waved as a tribute to those nations and to acknowledge our port as being open to the world.
When the city passed a resolution in 2009 to fly all U.S. flags, the reason seemed right – those American flags would wave above Coos Bay until U.S. military troops were recalled from Iraq and Afghanistan.
If President Barack Obama sticks with his timetable, the majority of those troops should begin leaving the Middle East beginning next year. And, while the U.S. will never pull all the military boots from that ground, it is fair to say that Coos Bay kept its promise and can now look to the future.
A council flag subcommittee has proposed what we think is an excellent idea: to return to international diversity, but also add flags of entities particularly significant to our region, including flags of the cities of Coos Bay and North Bend, and the flags of the Coquille Tribe and the Confederated Tribes of the Coos Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians. In addition, the committee recommended that we should fly the flag of the Tall Ship Port of Oregon (did you know we even had a Tall Ship Port flag?).
Now granted, this is not the kind of issue that is vital to the existence of Coos Bay. We discussed what’s really important in that respect last week when we talked about the desperate need for road repairs.
Nevertheless, one could argue that flying these flags is and necessary expression of the city’s soul, and its ability to recognize and respect the world outside our own little island community.
The city council didn’t vote to approve the recommendations at its meeting last Tuesday and wanted to wait for more public input at the next meeting, Dec. 2. While we understand, we don’t think the issue should be left undecided after that day. The city council should approve the recommendation and let the flags fly.