The community of Pepperell was given a great Independence Day celebration, thanks to the tireless efforts of the 4th of July Committee. Social media posts by member Carol Gates served to stir the fires of interest in the days and weeks leading up to the July 5 event.

But amid the patriotic fervor generated by the festivities hung the true symbols of the day -- the U.S. flags carried by some 80 utility poles along Main Street.

We remember when the flag project was begun years ago with flags purchased by folks in memory of family members. In the years since, wear and tear has taken its toll and on the days leading up to the big parade, the revered splashes of red, white and blue didn't appear so well regarded. Some hung by a thread, others were caught up on wires and in at least one case, the flag was gone leaving a bare pole.

The resurgence of American flags since the attacks of 9/11 is wonderful to see. But there is an obligation that coincides with their hanging. They cannot touch the ground, they cannot be left in the dark and if they become shabby, they must be retired in the flames of a proper ceremony.

Those who volunteered to put up and take down the flags are to be commended. But others must step up to assure that due respect is paid to these hallmarks of liberty as they fulfill their patriotic purpose.

From the time Francis Scott Key saw that the flag still waved in the dawn's early light, to the conflicts of today, the flag is the single most important symbol of America held in the heart of every fighting man and woman.

Better we not hang flags than to hang and dishonor them.

Bad practice

Townsend selectmen and Conservation Commission members held a joint meeting Monday to discuss a controversy regarding the selection of two new ConsCom members.

At the heart of the matter was the sudden return of a long absent member for the sole purpose of voting on these new members.

While the commission and the selectmen may agree to allow a member to retain his or her position despite lacking the time to fulfill its obligations, the return of the individual to vote on one issue is disingenuous. Either the person acts as a commissioner or does not.

A secondary issue is the volunteer who spent seven months attending ConsCom meetings in preparation for becoming a member, at the commission's urging. He now has been cast aside.

The process used in selection of these two new members does not pass the smell test. Nor does retaining a member who lacks the time to take part in commission business.

It would seem that there is room for all three willing volunteers.