May It Fly Freely and Proudly

I watched the presentation of colors today at President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s inauguration. I listened as Lady Gaga sang an incredible version of the Star-Spangled Banner. I noted the flags from our history that dated back to our very beginnings. I looked out on the 200,000 flags flying on the National Mall and the flags flying in the breeze on virtually every building.

And while I am not by nature a flag waver, I was proud, prouder than I have ever been of the flag.

Two weeks ago, my vision was totally different. I watched as an American Flag was used to beat a policeman whose only crime was protecting our Nation’s Capital from a band of thugs whose goal was an assault on our very democracy. I watched as they claimed they were patriots, wrapped themselves in flags, waved them from the ramparts, and carried them as they ran through the capitol corridors breaking windows, spray painting walls, and threatening the lives of Republican Vice President Mike Pence and the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. 

That vision has now been wiped out of my mind.

May we now move forward to solve the very real problems this nation faces— from the raging pandemic that has killed 400,000 Americans to the racism that continues to haunt our lives, from the environmental degradation that has led to global warming to severe economic depression that has destroyed thousands of businesses and thrown hundreds of thousands of people out of work, from denying citizens the right to vote to governing with mistruths and conspiracy theories.

And finally, may we return to our role as a positive, responsible partner in addressing the problems of the broader world.

May our flag once again fly proudly.

33 thoughts on “May It Fly Freely and Proudly

  1. Curt, you have so wonderfully summarised what we saw this afternoon / evening.
    I can’t add anything to such a speech as yours. Bless you.

    I saw all this too in England together with the “ Bubble “ I am allowed to be with during lockdown. I had frequently tears in my eyes as the music and speeches poured forth. All calming and full of true togetherness.

    I also saw with disbelief what happened two weeks ago.

    May you all see the dawn rising and kindness pour forth.

    Miriam

  2. Watched the inauguration for the first and hopefully last time yesterday. My hope is that it’ll never be so important to watch it truly happen again. Well done everyone. We adore Amanda Gorman!

    • I’ve never sat and watched TV for 14 hours, AC. Peggy and I were glued to the tube. And the last time I had watched an inauguration, Peggy and I spent a couple hours watching Obama’s first inauguration. I’m with you. May we have more routine times in the future! And wasn’t Amanda impressive. –Curt

  3. I’ve barely followed Canadian politics, let alone American, but this election and its aftermath have had me riveted. So so happy for you all for this best of outcomes. The adults are in charge again.
    Alison

    • You describe it well: four years of being on edge, just waiting for the next outrageous thing. Not will it, but when will it happen next. Though the election was in November, and the inauguration was three weeks ago, I am just now starting to feel like maybe I can stop clenching my teeth and wincing. I keep being amazed when I hear news stories where people are reasonable and coherent and competent, with clear action plans and messages to the public. The world makes more sense now.

  4. Flags are so fascinating to me, especially when I think of it in an anthropological sense. There must be studies on how flags are used around the world. They hold incredible meaning, and often nuanced meaning. While I call myself a patriot (in the literal sense, not the QAnon sense, of the word), and I love my country and my flag, I hang a flag outside my home for a different reason. I live in rural America where no one trusts people in cities, and they all found out I moved here from Portland, and made it very clear how they felt about people from Portland. I hung the flag as a signal to my neighborhood that I am not a foe, that I value things they value. A flag in the US today signals conservatism, if not outright Trump support. It bothers me that this is true, but I’ll use it to my advantage to keep the neighbors on my side.

    • As long as I wasn’t required to put up a Trump sign. Grin. I truly dislike the fact that one faction or the other can claim ownership of the flag. Or that someone would burn it. I want it to represent something that I am proud of. –Curt

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