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February 26, 2003
A local girl on a college basketball team has silently turned away from the American flag during the playing of the national anthem before games this season. This has unleashed a flurry of very heated, very ugly criticism of her person and personal beliefs. The single-minded, gung-ho support of a nation’s actions and the complete, single-minded, almost hysterical reverence of a symbol like a national flag are viewed as fanaticism when practiced in other so-called underdeveloped countries. Yet people here whip themselves into a froth, become aggressive and downright nasty in the face of those who choose not to salute.