Search The World... In Briefs!

Friday, September 16, 2016



     Nothing makes you prouder to be an American than to see Old Glory swaying in the breeze on the Fourth of July. Regardless of what you thought Old Glory is, it's the flag.

     It's one of the symbols Americans cling to while they argue with each other about whether we should elect an annoying president, or an idiotic president. But Independence Day is a time to set all that aside and take pride in everything it means to be an American.

     Most people believe that Betsy Ross designed the first version of the flag, which  vexillologists have questioned. Most people also believe that there is no way I would ever be able to spell  "vexillologist." Apparently the whole Betsy Ross story was started when her grandson presented a paper to the Philadelphia Historical Society relating a meeting with her husband's uncle George Ross, Robert Morris and Colonel George Washington at her upholstery shop.

     According to his account passed down through family folklore, they delivered to her the design of the flag with the stars in a circle. There were 13 of them, just a star-smattered banner, not yet fully spangled. The story goes that she suggested the stars be five-pointed instead of six, because they are easier for a seamstress to make. Her point was well taken, and she was commissioned to sew as many flags as she could manufacture, which kept her busy for the rest of her life.

     But the flag is not our only national symbol. Did you know that America has a National Mammal? I would have thought that the National Mammal was the President's Seal. But it's not, it's the North American bison. They don't call it a buffalo, I guess to avoid confusing it with that place where you have to dig your car out of six feet of snow in the middle of June. I would have lobbied for a smaller National Mammal, something the Secretary of State could pack into a briefcase, like a mongoose maybe, and let it out when negotiations start to break down.

     Our National Bird is the bald eagle, which, although aptly named, would look funny with hair on its head instead of feathers. It may have been chosen because it has kind of an angry look on its face, as though someone jumped into the express checkout line in front of it with more than 10 items. For comparison purposes, the National Bird of the island Republic of Mauritius is the dodo, which has been extinct for 300 years.

     My wife made fun of me for trying to deliver the "Pledge of Allegiance," which I cannot do without putting my hand over my heart for some reason. If a person my age stands around for that long with a hand over his heart somebody usually starts to administer CPR. I started out on the wrong foot when I recited, "I pledge of allegiance to the flag..." Apparently the "of" is only in the title. Then when I got to the part with the word "indivisible" in it I started shaking. EVERYTHING is indivisible to me, since the last time my math skills were on even a 5th grade level was when I was in the 7th grade.

     At one point there was a big hubub about whether the words "under God" should be excised from the pledge, because six year-olds who were devout atheists didn't care for it. At that age I remember being much more focused on whether or not I could tie my shoe. Do they still make kids recite it in grade school? I have no idea. We did, I guess so they could root out the communist tots who might try to share their lunch with the proletariat.

No comments:

Post a Comment