Sunday.. January 13, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 124

Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

            I know a lot of people aren't into the American Flag for a lot of reasons.   Some think blatant patriotism is blind acceptance of false principles--others presume there is some shame and guilt in the threads of the flag and punish its symbol by turning their back on it, or demeaning it through indifference or insolence.   Some even burn it, or wash it as though the filth of humans abusing it could wash off on it.       
            To create their "state enemy" they scourge the flag, poison it with vinegar as the Roman soldiers did the sponges they shoved in Jesus' mouth as he was hanging on the Cross--a demeaned symbol of freedom, liberty and the right to express one's love or disgust without retaliation.
          I'm called by many a Red-Necked Conservative Republican from the Orange County, California.   For many years all I saw was white and black--there were no grays in my vision.
          However, I moved to New York City about two years ago.  To achieve the move required I open my eyes, my heart and my prejudices to review.   I began to acclimate to a different, more tolerant viewpoint of people.   I became less quick to judge, to jury and to prosecute the offenders of my senses.
          Then September 11 changed the way the world rotates on its axis.   Diversity became one.   Differences melted into one pot.   Unity rose above alienation, disenfranchisement, righteous indignations.
          I felt the meltdown.   I was one of many who began to take a second look at the hard line I held against people who didn't fit my paradigm of beliefs, or my genetic maps of worthiness.
           So on Thursday, when I turned the corner in the rain, and adjusted my scarf to serve as a hat because I was unprepared for the sky to leak--I came face to face with Peace & Vigilance.
          There it was--shiny, satin, gorgeous, passionate, shimmering in the gauzy light of a rainy day.   I huddled in the small shop doorway to adjust the scarf over my head like a makeshift hood when it just gleamed out at me.   It was like it said"  "Hi, Cliff.   I don't have to be a scumbag loser liberal to be a peacenik.  See here.  Look at how beautiful I am.  Why, I might be more beautiful than Old Glory Herself with no make up on."
             I had to agree.   I whipped out my camera despite the rain and began to shoot shot after shot.   A silk Peace Symbol Flag. 
It was gracefully majestic.               Perhaps a number of years ago I might have ranted and raved like a mad man about desecrating the flag, and perhaps let my misguided rage turn into violence.  Also, in the window of the store was a figure of Yoda, the messenger of wisdom from Star Wars.  I tried to listen to his message
           However, I found the flag amazing.  It incorporated both the desire to uphold the principles of Freedom by one's willingness to die for his or her country; and, the shouting message that Peace was the goal rather than blood and guts.   It was a beautiful evolution of our flag, I thought.
The anti-Americans who saw our flag today saw it as a symbol of greed and corruption, a capitalistic vampire seeking to suck the blood from underdeveloped nations without a blink.   The Peace Symbol would help critics take another look at America, and Americans about to hoist the flag over a nation of resources, to take a second look what it was leaving behind after it took what it wanted.
        I thought through many options--all of which were good for America--if it were to fly the Peace Symbol flag over the White House and Pentagon.   Would it not represent more strength than just naked Old Glory, and garner more support of more people because the clearly stated goal embossed on the flag was Peace--and, everyone knows there can be no peace without first  having a war.   It would mean any war we entered into would be a decisive one, for we would want Peace to result from it, not turmoil or anguish or continual suffering.

       If Peace were the byproduct of all conflicts--social, political, economic, militaristic--America would only grow stronger, wiser, more a Parent Of Vigilance than ever.   And Terrorism would shrink and wither and die like a desiccated fig for lack of the fruits  of fear, intimidation and complacency which Peace would banish.                 
        Yes, I cast my vote that every one--red-necks and crying liberals, conservatives and bleeding hearts, far left and far right--- rally around the Peace Flag Pole.   I think it's time for unity with purpose. 
         It's time for Semper Vigilantes--Always Vigilant        .

Go To  Jan. 12--Photo Story--Brutus The Tenacious Flag

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