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Old Glory

By LC Van Savage

Hi Folks: Howís it going with you? Me? Iím doing especially well these days. Iím feeling as if Iíve been reborn or something. Oh, not in the religious sense, but in the living sense. It is I speaking; your American flag.

Itís been a long time since weíve really seen each other, hasnít it? Youíve seen me around, I know, here and there, but youíve taken me for granted a lot. I hang outside Federal buildings, Iím unrolled and hung on special American holidays, and Iím in all parades. I think my real meaning has been lost though. But I understand.

They say Betsy Ross was the first person to make me, in 1776, but thereís some controversy about that. Doesnít matter really, I only care that I was made. (And I personally think she did.)

My colors? Beautiful combination, right? Red, white, and blue. I mean talk about your flag fashion statements! Strong. Brilliant. Classic! My stunning design! Makes every other flag look sort of dim by comparison, if I may indulge a little egotism here. I will never go out of style. Iím told the red is for hardiness and valour, white for purity and innocence, and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.

Lots of old versions of me are still around. Iíve been made of homespun and wool and every sort of material. A huge, old version of me hangs in the Smithsonian, and other examples of me, with lesser groups of stars on my blue field than todayís fifty, are worth lots of money these days, I hear.

I understand the rules made up for me, you know, where and how to hang me and when, were created to show me respect; taking me in at sundown, having me lit if Iím left out at night, what kind of weather to avoid hanging me in, etc.

Never letting me touch the ground is one rule I really like. Thatís sort of a moral crime, you know, to let that happen. People standing at attention, right arm across left breast, a hand raised in salute and hats removed as Iím carried past them is my true favorite. Makes me feel good. Makes me feel honored. I am also honored that Francis Scott Key wrote our astounding National Anthem while watching my broad stripes and bright stars gallantly streaming oíer the ramparts through the perilous night. And the honor I feel being flown above our Capital building, or covering the coffin of a fallen soldier, is indescribable.

This week, I feel as if Iím beloved again, as if I stand for something. This week Iím being hung everywhere, from homes, trees, bridges. Iím seen all alone in fields, painted on rocks, taped to mailboxes, fluttering from the ends of car aerials, pasted onto cars and trucks. People are wearing my colors on their jackets and theyíre not burning me today, at least in America, nor are they desecrating or ignoring me. This week, the week of September 11th, 2001, Iím being born again. They tell me stores donít have any more of me anywhere. Even the lady writing this for me, LC Van something has suspended me between two trees in her front yard, and has no plans to remove me soon.

America has united again, just as we were before and during World War II, and frankly folks, it feels really good. The senseless, horrifying carnage America suffered on September 11th has brought us to tears, but not to our knees. We are finally Americans again, reminded of the greatness of our country, and of ourselves.

I am proud to represent you, a magnificent people who chose this terrible week to not hang black bunting around your mighty nation, but instead to hang me. Long may you live, in prosperity and safety, good people of the United States. Bravo, and God Bless America!

LCís books are at local bookstores.
Email her at lc@vansavage.com  

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