lunedì 7 dicembre 2009

Flags and American Patriotism

Cheers for the sailors that fought on the wave for it,
Cheers for the soldiers that always were brave for it,
Tears for the men that went down to the grave for it,
Here comes the flag!
~Arthur Macy, The Flag

Finally I got one! You know, in this country the Stars and Stripes flows everywhere, in front of the houses, at the airport, in the parking lots, at the gas stations...all over. So you can imagine it is sold everywhere, and it wouldn't be a big deal to find one of them. You're wrong, like me. I've been searching for it since I arrived for my nephew Totò, who is definitely helping me to find out what is patriotism and how it works.
From American movies, everybody knows that American people are very fond of their flag. The banner shows up in different situations in every American movie I have ever seen, think about it. Now, I know it appears in the movies not only to show the real environment –which is actually full of flags–, but also because the Government makes a discount on taxes if the National flag shows up in the movie...that's incredibly patriotic, isn't it?
But getting to the point, it is very difficult to buy a flag. I began searching it at the Gift shop in the airport and they had only the little one on a stick. Then, I asked at the big chains like K-Mart or Walmart. But they didn't have any. Someone told me I had to try in the Baltimore Harbor, because they have flags of countries from all over the world. It is an option, but it is not exactly the same place where my neighbor would by one. Or at the Home Depot, another chain which sells the poles to put the banners on, so that probably it sells the flags too.
Sincerely, I was thinking to buy it on internet when yesterday we asked in the TARGET shop of Annapolis. As at the TARGET of Greenbelt they told us it was “out of season”, like a vegetable – the best season for a flag is unequivocally the one in which a patriotic fest occurs, like July - it was a last desperate attempt. We asked the Costumer Service Desk if they had American flags, they answered us a very welcomed YES, and gave us directions to find it. But we got lost, so we asked another worker, who was showing a very comforting “I got my flu shot!” sticker, and he started going around the shop checking a machine as he was following some GPS directions. Then he left us behind the so willed flags! Only one type, very expensive –would it be impolite to ask for a cheaper one? I guess so...– I payed 19.99$ and no tax charged. Patriotism again.
It is very nice indeed, with embroidered Stars and sewn Stripes –which means that it is not a simply stamped one. It is made in the United States with 100% U.S. Labor and U.S. Materials –of course it can't be made in China! And the package contains an handbook with the U.S. Flag Code, “an authoritative guide containing up-to-date recommendations for displaying, honoring and caring for the Flag of the United States of America.” I'm seriously thinking about waiting until Totò turns 18 years old before giving such a tremendous responsibility to him.

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