While we wait for the world to find a new normal I was reminded that today is flag day. It’s the day a couple of centuries ago when the then Continental Congress adopted a Flag for our fledging nation. The Stars and Stripes became the ensign for the United States. That happened on June 14, 1777.
As a boy the 14th of June was an important day. Back then the school year ended in the third week of June and Flag day meant that school would soon be over and we’d be freed from books and shoes. There would be long summer days in cut off blue jeans and white teeshirts. Bike rides to buy ice cream or a candy bar. We’d collect bottles and to get the deposit refund to pay for popcorn at the movies.
On the Fourth of July there would be the smoke from fireworks. The high pitched scream of a Piccolo Pete and drawing of light pictures in the air with the sparklers.
Carefree and happy days in a time when everything seemed possible.
But too soon it would be Labor Day and school starting that first week in September. The next grade, a year older, and with new clothes we go back to the classroom. “What did you do this summer?” The first question, the first writing assignment.
Today I sit here writing, struggling for something to say. The flag no longer holds the same meaning of summer joys or a patriotic fireworks display. The unity that flag meant to me as child seems crumbling as our world seeks that new normal we’ve been hoping for.
As I write this, I’m listening to my writing play list – a group of songs and music that I always find helps me focus on writing. As I get to the end of this essay I find I’m listening to that great The Brothers Four rendition of Try To Remember and that line, “Try to remember the kind of September/When life was slow and oh, so mellow”
Now I listen to it and I remember … so many things that have passed into memory.
Given the state of the world today, I do wonder what memories there the children growing up in these confused times will have in 50 years. I worry that we’ve failed them.
I do hope that whatever happens from here, we can find a way to unite in love and respect to build a world where we strive to build happy memories and learn to truly care for each other.