Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Flag is my backpack

The Flag is my backpack

The flag is a backpack to me. I mean, it is much more than a static, arcane element forced on me by my society. And it should be for you, too. Whether you pin one on your lapel before press conferences, or talk through the anthem when one is raised before sports stuff, or if, maybe, sadly, you have seen an official hand a neatly-triangled one to a sad spouse or child in exchange and as demonstration for substantial public service. I have been there for that one, multiple times. It gets me every time. That flag, soon packed into its three sided glass topped box, will convey honor and respect for the principles long after the past is passed.

I hopped up on my roof and put the flag up in the breeze today. I am glad I did it early. The part of town I am in stresses that. No one would mention it. But it might be noted. And I would have been weaker than -- or less patriotic -- I wanted to be.

I like to think of the flag as a backpack. In it I can place many stories -- books full of 'em -- of Private Ryans, and Seamen Whitings, and scared, overmatched soldiers of all ages and skills and families, that showed up and did the hard work. Hard work I have never sniffed. The backpack can carry the tales and remind me.

The flag can also be a nice pair of pants. Not leather skinnys for the club, or pin-striped for the boardroom, but a pair for the wild. Heavy guage cotton reinforced. Good pockets. Eazy zippers. Cinch at the bottom if you didn't bring gators. The kind that work well with a nice broken in pair of hiking boots and won't let in too much of the trail, or let you down with a split seam or burst zipper at 15,000' crossing an ice field. The flag of my country prepares me for future excursions, both by reminding me of the past and leading off on into an uncertain future. Just like that Jungle Jack pair I had for years from the Surplus Store.

The flag is like many things. Like food and water on the trail to nourish and energize. A map back as well as a hope that since THEY got through with this one, quite maybe we can, too.

And, of course, the flag is a piece of Art. A representational item around which to rally ethereal, nationlalistic, and patriotic feelings anchor them to something physical, and beat other people up with them. Hopefully assholes who deserve it.

Often the beattees are just people in our way who have some shit we want. The flag promises me that whatever I do to serve and protect, my intention is always the whole species. The whole planet. So, Buddha, Allah, Jesus, Yawhey, et al, thank you for your time and your attention. Please help me be a good American. The world really needs me to be. Namaste to us all.

Los Angeles, California

The Flag is my backpack

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