Every morning, while the campus is still asleep, Nico Madrid ’20 and Rick Ono ’19 raise the flag in the middle of the Flagstaff Quad as their work duty. The flagpole has become a symbol of hope for the future, according to Madrid.
“Every day when people come to the campus and they see the flag, it really creates hope and inspiration. I have seen people visiting this school take photos against it, put it in the background,” said Madrid.
The flag is taken down every night and placed somewhere dry, often in a dorm room, in order to protect it from bad weather conditions.
Occasionally, Madrid or Ono raise it up the following morning at half-mast. According to Madrid, the flag is raised at half-mast as a symbol of respect to those who were lost on significant dates, such as September 11, or to comply with a half-mast order from the acting President to honor, for example, the victims of a shooting.
Jamison Hagerman Phinney, Admission Counselor and Empathy, Balance, and Inclusion Course Head, thinks that the position of the flag is significant.
Phinney said, “I think it’s a cultural symbol obviously because it tells us what’s going on. There are social issues that come up or tragedies that we can see with the flag at half-mast.”
Others view the flagpole as a landmark that brings a sense of community within Andover and acts as a congregation of sorts in the middle of campus.
Anna Maniaci ’19 said, “I look at the little seating area where people just chill or the Blue Key Heads always dance around on Fridays. The other day I saw a teacher and his daughter sitting there in that late afternoon sun. It’s just sweet.”
According to Madrid, the eagle at the top of the flagpole, lit by two spotlights in the corners of the Flagstaff Quad, is a recent addition. Though it was attached just a few years ago, numerous students believe that the eagle has already become a prominent piece of the flagpole.
For Emiliano Caceres ’22, seeing the eagle perched on top of the flagpole is a majestic experience.
“The lit-up eagle is really majestic, the way they go through so much effort to light it up every night shows just how extra and committed the school is. It’s an aesthetic,” said Caceres.
Elizabeth Meyer, Instructor in Classics and Head of the Division of World Languages, commented on the respectability of the flag practices at Andover.
“When the flag is at half mast, it makes me sad, but I’m glad that we are participating in it. There are strict rules about the flag and we do follow it well, as far as I know,” said Meyer.
To Emily Smith ’22, the American flag on the flagpole is symbolic of Andover itself.
Smith said, “To me, the flag symbolizes the freedom and patriotism of America [our country]. It represents the opportunities of this country as well as at Andover.”
Madrid explains that waking up to raise the flag has impacted his sleep cycle, especially when he has to get up early on Saturdays. Every time he raises the flag, however, Madrid feels he helps the Andover community become a little more patriotic.
“I saw some of my friends here doing it and I thought, wow that would be a really cool work duty to do. The American flag is a great symbol of its country and to be part of it is really great,” said Madrid.
Editor’s Note: Rick Ono is a Sports Editor for The Phillipian.