Sunday, June 14, 2015

254. Flags

Yesterday proved surprisingly contemplative for C.W. We agreed to let him go with us to a Flag Day celebration at a park across the street from our condo. We prefaced this with a long talk. The faithful reader will understand. C.W. doesn’t always behave at public functions. Remember the time he snuck off and rolled a soccer ball painted to look like a human head down the steps from the top of the pyramid at Chichén Itzá? This time he gave us his “declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen,” as he put it, straight from his GUT. (Galactic Universal Translator)

So we took him at his “word” and let him go with us. A wind symphony presented an hour of stirring patriotic music as a troop of Boy Scouts distributed free ice cream and flags. Kids frolicked, flags waved, and the band played on. All in attendance enjoyed themselves.

Afterwards, he and I had a quiet moment on our balcony overlooking the city, he in his most faithful Norman Rockwell form and me as, well … just me. We each enjoyed a cigar, which he has taken to relishing, and I enjoyed a glass of wine, which makes him nauseated.

“You know,” he said, blowing a cloud of smoke toward a peaceful city, “your species never ceases to amaze and confuse me.”

“How so?”

“Every time I am forced to file a report to the Falloonian Elders implying that the time for the dompetallendich of your species, a time like this comes along.”

Oh dear. That’s a Falloonian word for final solution that you, dear reader, don’t even want to know about. “Please,” I said, “the ladies might hear you.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” he said. “I think events of late have redeemed you for a while, despite those horrible political candidates you are breeding.”

“How so?” I was most anxious to change the subject.

“Did you see the enthusiasm for your country that people expressed?”

I nodded.

“Enthusiasm,” he said, “generated only by the comradeship of a crowd and the effects of music.”

“Amazing, isn’t it?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “and this only a few days since all those remembrances of the brave young men storming ashore on the beaches of France, willing to face annihilation to rid the world of the dark forces that had emerged on your planet.”

“That was one of our finest moments,” I said.

“We’ve also remember in June,” he said in a somber tone, “some people of your country who gave their lives in seeking civil rights for your brothers and sisters of color, including Medgar Evers, James Chaney, AndrewGoodman and Michael Schwerner.”

“Quite so,” I said.

“Did you know,” he said, “that your country began the so- called Berlin Airlift’ in June, 1947, saving hundreds of thousand German citizens from starvation?”

Please remember, Earthling friends, that your flag flies
 over all your actions, both the just and the unjust - C.W.
“Of course,” I said, squirming a bit. “everyone knows about that.”

“The Civil Rights Act, women’s suffrage, the care of your poor and elderly, the moon landing, the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, the MarshallPlan, and the Emancipation Proclamation,” he said, “not to mention the stand by the brave few on Cemetery Ridge that spelled the end of the dark forces of slavery in your country.” He paused for a breath, and said, “I’m glad old John Adams did it.”

“Did what?” I said, still stuck on thoughts of Gettysburg.

“Got his resolution passed on June 14, 1777. Don’t you read history?”

“Uh, yes,” I said, “but I forget at my age. What resolution was that?”

“Dope,” he said, "...that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation."

“Oh yeah,” I said. “That one.” I took a sip of wine and he blew cigar smoke toward me.

“Your flag means something to an alien visitor,” he said.

“And what is that?”

“It means your country can be a great one,” he said, adding, “When it wants to.”

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