People are saying that putting a Ukrainian flag in your social media avatar is an empty virtue signal that doesn’t help.
But that’s not true. It really helps. I’m not saying it helps everybody but it helps me. Other people I talked to say the same. I don’t care if people put it up unthinkingly or what their motives are. I’m not their psychoanalyst. What do I care about motives?
The thing is, we are attached to this flag like many people aren’t to theirs. Those of us who were born before 1991 didn’t grow up with it. I will forever remember the first time I saw it, and I was maybe 12 or 13. I’ve been attached to it deeply since then. My American kid knew the colors of the Ukrainian flag since the moment she learned to tell colors because I have it everywhere around the house, on two places on my car, in my office, my clothes, jewelry, my two medals. This isn’t connected to the war. I was always into it. Seeing it is a big pick-me-up at any time, and during a war, much more so.
I never even felt at home in America until I came to the Midwest and saw the familiar landscape of a corn field under a blue sky, which is what the flag symbolizes.
I’m not encouraging anybody to wrap themselves in Ukrainian flags to make me feel better but I do feel better when I see it. This flag was very hard-won. Today, people are dying for it. And it does feel comforting to see that others still hold it up even when our soldiers fall to the ground.