Last week someone ripped down the rainbow flag that was bolted to the Spring Creek Ranch signpost.
Most of us probably didn’t take note of the vandalism because, understandably, our attention might have been diverted by national and world events. After all, a mass shooting in Allen, Texas, had just left eight people dead —the 200th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2023. Veterans’ health benefits were on the chopping block from the federal budget. Sea levels and global temperatures were continuing their seemingly inexorable marches upward. So we might not have noticed the missing rainbow flag. But nonetheless, we should care.
For years, Spring Creek Ranch has flown three flags on the sign at the main entrance to the ranch. “Flying highest is the Stars and Stripes, in the middle is the Canadian maple leaf and then the super bright rainbow flag that says to me, ‘everyone is welcome here,’” says Spring Creek co-owner and operator Sarah Berns. “To us,” Sarah says, “the flags all say a version of the same thing: ‘Welcome. Welcome to our country, welcome to our state, we welcome you, as you are — to our ranch.’”
Wedding couples conducting their nuptials at SCR have told Sarah, “Thank you for flying your pride flag. When we saw it, we knew that we would be safe here.” Sarah calls her flag post a “signpost of safety.”
“There are so many different ways to love,” Sarah says. “Our partners, our best friends, our parents, our siblings; let’s celebrate them all.”
Sentiment about the rainbow flag hasn’t always been rosy, though. “Over the years, our pride flag has been taken down, stomped on and stolen, numerous times,” Sarah says. Each time, she has put up another rainbow flag. Past Spring Creek guests and wedding couples hearing about the defacement sent her “crisp new flags.” But eventually, the new flags would get vandalized too.
Finally, Sarah asked artist Donna Keyser create metal flags to replace the fabric ones. Sarah thought the most recent flag’s bolted installation system would be secure, but hate, apparently, knows few limits, and on May 7, someone took the trouble to shimmy up the flag post and bash the metal sign off its bolted foundation.
Sarah says she’s not really invested in catching the flag vandalizer(s) rainbow-handed. She’s more interested in replacing the flag so she can continue to show support for people who see the flag as a symbol of safety. “For me, it’s about supporting people to make their own decisions,” Sarah says. “If the Spring Creek Ranch flag post helps someone understand that it’s OK to be who they are, that’s all I want.”