history, photography, politics

Poem, Book, and Flag

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HughesPoem
The image atop this post comes from a new reading of the classic Langston Hughes poem Let America Be America Again, published in 1936.  On one hand, it is discouraging that the poem is still so timely.  Indeed, a speech from 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt is still timely and sounds remarkably like what Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are saying today.  We have frittered away so much of the hard-won partial progress made since 1910 and 1936.  On the other hand, …

Slavomir Rawicz planned and led a small group’s escape from a prison camp in the Siberian Gulag in 1941.  About 9 months and 3000 miles later, the 4 survivors reached safety in India, having walked (with a little crudely improvised equipment and w/o maps) thru Siberian snow, the Gobi Desert, and high passes in the Himalayas.  Details are in his book The Long Walk.

There are many sane and decent people in the USA, and some of them may have the grit and ingenuity of Slavomir Rawicz and his companions.  In my own small way, I will try to help and will keep Yogi Berra’s Law in mind.

Having flown my flag inverted (as a protest) for a few days after the electoral disaster of 2016, I put it away.  The meaning of inversion would no longer be clear.  In the spring of 2017, I bought a new flag (larger and US-made) for occasions like July 4th, when flying the flag upright would not look so much like general approval of the way things are going.  Ceding patriotic symbols to bigots and plutocrats would be a tactical error.

Maybe I should be doing other things today, but I came across the new reading of the poem.  Despite not having burst mode on my camera, I then lucked into a good snapshot of my flag waving proudly.  As usual, I teared up when a radio station played The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Tonight, I will both smile and yawn when neighborhood fireworks keep me up late.  Tomorrow, the sane and decent people can return to the work of redeeming the promise of this day.

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Happy July 4th!

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5 thoughts on “Poem, Book, and Flag

  1. A true patriot is like a good doctor. He might tell you some things you don’t want to hear, but it’s only because he wants to help fix them. Happy Independence Day to you.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I found your reflections on the theme of the American flag interesting. As a Brit, our relationship to our flag is different – not surprisingly. I associate the flying of the union jack with ceremonial events, like commemorating the dead from previous wars, also with far Right groups.
    Agree that holding hope is so important at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing Hughes’ moving and important poem! Loved it. Oh, you finally stopped waving your inverted flag, huh? I think many in America carry one in our hearts. Scary times.

    I hope you had a fantastic 4th! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did. The weather was good. I took a stroll in dim twilight, then saw some great rocket shots while standing a few feet from the head of my driveway. No traffic jam afterward! Hope your 4th was fantastic too.

      Like

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