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About the writer
Holly Niner, whose letter appeared Jan. 10, has been selected as last month’s Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter to the editor during January.
Niner, 56, is a speech therapist and children’s book author. Her book, “Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD” helps children deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder. She also wrote “I Can’t Stop!: A Story about Tourette’s Syndrome” and is currently working on a picture book to help children deal with bedtime fears.
She wrote her letter because, after surviving the contentious election season and then witnessing the likely theft of her Crimson Tide flags, she worried her community was becoming more mean-spirited and less tolerant of others’ opinions.
“After the outcome of the game, we will likely wait until fall to replace the flag,” Niner said. “We don’t want to make anyone feel any worse. After all, it’s only a game.”
Niner received a gold-plated inscribed pen for her efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.
Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Holly Niner’s letter on her missing University of Alabama flags was January’s most effective.

Golden Pen: January

Hope of peaceful coexistence vanishes with Crimson Tide flags

We have lived in Fort Wayne since 1995, but we are fans of the Crimson Tide of Alabama.

We became fans when our son, a National Merit finalist, was offered and accepted a full academic scholarship to the University of Alabama, something not offered by in-state universities.

Our daughter followed him a year later, and our family came to love the university, Southern hospitality, the community of Tuscaloosa, which is still recovering from the devastating tornado, and the football team.

For years, we have proudly flown a Crimson Tide flag during football season and love the friendly conversations it triggers with neighbors passing by.

So it was with dismay that we found our flag missing Dec. 15. We attributed it to the wind. After Christmas, we put up another flag, which quickly disappeared. This time the bent hooks and lack of wind suggested someone ripped it from the porch.

Sadly, we now suspect the wind was not the culprit in the first flag’s disappearance.

We will never know if it was kids bored during winter break, an anxious Notre Dame fan, or someone sick of the SEC, but it makes us wonder. If, as a people, we can’t peacefully coexist with football rivals, how can we expect countries to settle their differences and live in harmony?

On Monday, the Crimson Tide and the Fighting Irish met with the Tide winning 42-14. As Crimson Tide fans, we admired the talent on both sides of the field, hoped for a good game and prayed for no injuries.