Focus on positive

It was with a bit of shock but more with a grim resignation about people that we heard this week the American flags along the Mianus River Bridge were vandalized for a second time.

The first time was greeted by more of a sense of outrage over the fact that someone could invest the time and effort to sneak around and destroy such a nice symbol right on the Fourth of July. But the second time was more of a chance to just shake our heads and wonder what makes people so damaged inside that they have to go and wreck something that fills people with justifiable pride.

We have no idea if it was the same people who did it the first time or people who thought it was the height of hilarity to break something nice and decided to have a go at it. What we do know is that there’s something sad about anyone who would snap flagpoles simply because they can.

But we’re not going to talk today about a group of vandals who do things like this whether out of anger or boredom or maybe a mixture of both. Life is short enough as is and they don’t deserve any more time than what they’ve already stolen from us. Besides, when you already thumb your nose at the town’s volunteer firefighters, police department, concerned citizens and veterans, the wagging finger of the editorial page isn’t likely to have much of an impact on you.

Instead we’re going to focus on the better things about Greenwich, like about how quickly the volunteers at the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company had the flagpoles replaced at their own expense. They were on that bridge Saturday night doing the work and by the next morning those flags were flying proudly again.

And look at the example set by Amy Guerrieri, a town resident and businesswoman who owns the Upper Crust Bagel Company and Arcadia Cafe with her husband in Old Greenwich. She saw a news story about poverty in America, a very underreported story, and instead of thinking how sad that was before turning the channel to something else, she decided to help. She had the means and the desire and by forming RAMP, a non-profit organization working to end poverty in rural Appalachia, she has turned her success into the chance to give others a hand when they need it most.

And look at the Greenwich United Way. Years ago we became embroiled in the controversy over the amateur wiffle ball field that sprouted up. That field gave people in this town a lot of fun, but the town was right that it was also a potential hazard. Instead of letting bad feelings result from having the field shut down, the United Way, and its Youth Services Coordinator Jenny Byxbee, went and turned it into something positive, starting a yearly official wiffle ball tournament that is safe and fun for the whole family.

There’s always a reason to feel disappointed in the actions of others. Our police blotter is filled weekly with instances. But there’s also a lot more reason to feel heartened about the people in town, who are dedicated to creating good things and making a positive impact. There’s food drives and community celebrations and our businesses working with residents to make things better.

Some people might seek attention by being destructive, but the less we acknowledge their immaturity the better. There are so many more positive things to focus on instead.

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