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Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Views from the Echo Press Editorial Board

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Honor Guard marched near the flags and paid tribute to those lost in the terror attacks. (Beth Leipholtz | Echo Press)

A stirring tribute

Thumbs Up: The display of flags in 3M's empty lot in Alexandria was a stirring tribute to the 2,997 people who lost their lives in the terror attack on Sept. 11, 2001. The flags, one for each person killed in the attacks, were set up in two columns, representing the two World Trade Center towers. Three larger flags were placed to represent the towers and the Pentagon that were targeted by terrorists in the attacks. This marked the third year the display has been set up by a local group of volunteers. It takes a lot of effort, coordinating and dollars — the flags and banners cost $3,000 — to keep this effort going and organizers deserve a salute for making it happen.

Anthem protests

Thumbs Down: It's disappointing to see professional athletes disrespect the National Anthem and the American flag in an attempt to complain about racism and oppression. They have a right to express their opinions but using the National Anthem as their own personal soapbox is a poor way to do it. State Representative Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, hit the nail on the head in his weekly column: "This scene with some players not standing during the National Anthem just doesn't play well with me. These folks are highly paid for what they do, and they probably received a free college education via an athletic scholarship, as well. I get the First Amendment argument that all can express their feelings, but please do it on your own time, not while 'working' at your job. Employers have a right to ask for certain types of behavior from their employees while they are on the job. And playing a game of football is what these men are paid to do."

Courthouse concerts

Thumbs Up: Another summer is wrapping up, along with another successful series of Thursday night concerts on the Douglas County Courthouse lawn sponsored by the Red Willow Arts Coalition. Several entities played a role, said Chuck Wencl, coalition director: the county commissioners for approving the use of the lawn; the Echo Press for weekly preview articles; Miltona Magnet School parents, staff and students who hustle each night to deliver fresh popcorn and water; Calvary Lutheran Church for their lawn space and playground; and Anderson Funeral Home and Elden's Fresh Foods as the main sponsors of the concerts. "Like any big project, there are so many involved who have helped make these concerts possible," Wencl said. "If you have supported us with donations, volunteered your time or assisted in any other way, we are truly grateful."

Weedy field, faded hydrants

Thumbs Down: An Alexandria resident was dismayed about the condition of the baseball field at Dean Melton Fillmore Park. He's noticed large patches of weeds in the warning track. "It shouldn't be that way," he said. "We should take more pride in what the park looks like." The same resident pointed out another eyesore in the city — the rusty, faded-pink hydrants around town, such as those near the Alexandria Technical and Community College and near Broadway. All the hydrants are supposed to be painted on a rotating, regular basis and for awhile he was impressed with how good they looked but now they're falling behind, he said.

Help in a hurricane

Thumbs Up: An Alexandria resident sends a thumbs up to all the people who helped make the Hurricane Harvey relief effort a success. Organizers started collecting clothes and other items at the Runestone Community Center on Tuesday afternoon on Aug. 29 and by 3:45 p.m. that Sunday, two semi-trailers were filled with supplies and the center was almost cleaned up. "Thank you to all the volunteers who worked many hours," said Deanna Schultz. "A big thank you to the businesses and individuals who furnished food, water and pop to the volunteers who worked. Thank you to those who donated or paid for the truck, trailer and drivers to haul the clothing to Houston. A big thank you to Sandy Mateer for coordinating this project with the Red Cross. What a great way to bring the community together and to meet new people while volunteering."