Sunday, October 20, 2013

Watching what is surely the last of the pieces on "The 92 year-old Ranger ..."

... on the CBS Evening News, there was a moment when the Betty on the screen and the Betty watching the footage brimmed with tears.  It was not obvious, but the moment was so filled with memories -- alive with pathos ... and there were no words to express the depth of feelings that surfaced.

It had to do with the raising of the flag.  John Blackstone, the interviewer, asked what it meant to me.  I fell silent for an instant ... then felt the tears forming ... there was no way to answer that in the few minutes allowed on camera.  I was grateful that my glasses had darkened in the sunlight so that the emotion that might have been visible was not evident.  The answer would take an essay -- and even that would hardly be adequate.

But if you'll place the name of the late author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestKen Kesey, into that little white search bar on the left hand side of the screen just above my photo, you'll understand my response to the question.  Or, a different set of posts on the flag will appear if you just enter "flag."

I don't believe that I fully understood what it meant to me until asked to give the keynote address for the National Park Service's Naturalization Day ceremony this past spring. In the writing of that speech I finally worked through, conclusively, its meaning at least to me.  That speech can be brought up with the search bar, if you're interested.  But it took all of those prior experiences to bring me to a personal patriotism that sustains me today in a still flawed social system.

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