Saturday, July 21, 2007

Flags waving as opposed to flag waving


…had the great good fortune of spending a few hours on the morning of the 4th of July with an extraordinary woman whose singular passion to drive home the realities of war in Iraq, and war in the abstract, is manifested in a riveting, roving display of 3,581 miniature American flags, a Flag Memorial gently waving in the susurrant breeze, each one representing a fallen Father, Mother, Brother, Sister, Son, Daughter, killed in war, specifically Iraq, but the sad figure would soar by 409 if you add in Afghanistan and if you factored in all the dead of the war, no matter where they are from, and painted one flag for each you’d be painting flags in round-the-clock shifts; no one knows how many men, women and children are dead in this horrifying conflagration, and never mind whether you’re anti-war or ready to ship out yourself, for here on the Newfane (VT) Common, there is heard little posturing from either quarter, all seem focused only on this windblown paean to the dead…

…as we three, Lauri Richardson - dedicated to memorializing the fallen - and my Granddaughter Devon and me, are going through the motions, painting the field of blue and the Stars ‘n Stripes, and when dry attach to the display - each flag a death - a palpable sadness hovered near, there was no joy in what we were doing – each brush stroke it seemed to me put an exclamation point on the fact that one more soldier would not be coming home again except in a pine box covered with a flag, and laid to rest. We didn’t want there to be any more flags to paint. Since I started writing this issue 25 days ago, 58 more flags have been added.

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