Calling it "a symbol that no longer serves its purpose," OccupyMaine protester Harry Brown burned the encampment's American flag at the stroke of 8 am Monday morning, as the city's clock tower rang out the deadline for Occupiers to remove their "structures and belongings" from Lincoln Park.
He may have been referring specifically to the camp's tattered flag itself, to the American flag as a guidon for democracy, or even the beacon of hope that has been "the republic for which it stands" (as the Pledge of Allegiance has it), is unclear - and likely intentionally so. It could equally be all three.
As the flames licked at Old Glory, TV and newspaper reporters and photographers watched and recorded, for what will surely be oft-repeated descriptions of what happened. The coverage is less likely to discuss what it meant for Brown, though he spoke his mind clearly and repeatedly.
And certain to go uncovered is any suggestion that the mainstream media should have offered the same sort of breathless reporting as the American republic itself and the ideals for which it has stood for centuries were torn to shreds, and then burned to the ground by those in the halls of power.