Monday, June 14, 2010

Old Glory, Stars, Stripes - and Joneses

In the USA, today’s Flag Day [1]. It’s celebrated each 14 June to commemorate the US Congress’s adoption of the US flag [2] – on 14 June 1777. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established 14 June as Flag Day. But it wasn’t until 1949 that an Act of Congress established National Flag Day. Despite this, Flag Day’s not a Federal Holiday. And in 1937 Pennsylvania became the first (and only) US State to celebrate it as a State Holiday.

What does the US flag mean to me as an Australian? I’m conscious that in my lifetime the number of its stars increased from 48 to 50. I’m anguished whenever I see a military coffin covered by it. I’m moved that the US adopted a national anthem named for it [3]. I’m stirred every time I hear Souza’s immortal march pay it homage [4]. I’m awed by the image of the iconic (albeit staged) Iwo Jima raising of it. And I’m jealous Americans revere it more than Australians do our flag.

P.S. Not to be outdone by the US’s Flag Day, or at least to keep up with the US Joneses, Australian National Flag Day was inaugurated on 3 September 1996, i.e. on the 95th anniversary of the first time our flag was flown [5]. Ho hum.


Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

I really do not like nationalisn, it gets out of hand so easily, fine at soccer games; but we have to start thinking like one group of humans, which until a bunch of aliens show up probably won't happen; even then one group would try and sell the others out.

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

Boy am I dumb, I have only just realised the meaning of the photo. I read the rabbis response. I must say I am with you as words fail me for a suitable response.
I prefer Mango juice?