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Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

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Monday, September 11, 2006

The Day I Finally Understood What My Grandfather Was Talking About

American_flag_2When I was in college, my grandfather and I had some conversations about the American flag.  He was a World War II veteran, and took the flag as a symbol very seriously.  I was more ambivalent, not disliking or disrespecting the flag itself but suspicious of the often mindless patriotism that seemed to be associated with the flag as a public symbol.  Five years ago, living in the West Village about a mile and a half north of the World Trade Center, my view of the flag radically changed.  I'm still not a fan of empty-headed flag-waving patriotism, but to me the flag now symbolizes something that to a WWII veteran like my grandfather would be self evident:  that despite our profound differences and the every-day petty squabbling of our political class, we can stand as one when we need to.

Ben Barros

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