I Pledge Allegiance
Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?
Out on the porch, I fly the American flag on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. I usually forget about Flag Day on June 14th.
A couple of things have changed in patriotism since I was young in the 1960’s. When I was a teen, the anti-establishment segment of American society wore the clothing in the pattern of the American flag, sometimes made out of the actual flag. The more conservative elements of society railed against this flag-draping practice and called them unpatriotic.
Today, the most conservative people wear the flag-inspired clothing in my country. Hats, shirts, pants, socks, even shoes with the red, white, and blue plastered across it. Now this is a sign that you are a true patriot.
At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix played The Star Spangled Banner on his crying guitar. This rendition of the patriotic song was labeled as shockingly unpatriotic. The more traditional people found the sad wailing of his guitar as being deeply critical of America.
This last Fourth of July, some guy on a Florida beach played The Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar in a fashion similar to Jimi Hendrix. He gets arrested for disturbing the peace. Then he becomes the darling for today’s more conservative crowd. The patriotic flag-wearing people of today applaud the music gleaned from the more radical past.
Both the dress code and the musical style have exchanged places on the political scale. In this case, patriotism is in the eye of the beholder.