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Flags and National Anthems



     David Crow adds to the discussion of the Mexican flag:
     I, too, have witnessed the lowering of the flag in Mexico City's Zócalo. It is impressive, mostly because of the immense size of the flag. When chicano high-school students protested anti-immigration Prop. 187 in California, they marched with the Mexican flag (a fatal flaw in an otherwise just protest, according to my mother, an elementary school principal in a largely Spanish-speaking district).
     I read somewhere that the U.S. flag is the most burnt in the world, both inside and outside the U.S. I don't necessarily support flag-burning, but am glad to live in a country where I could do it, if I felt it necessary, without spending eternity in jail. Mexicans are amazed that the U.S. flag can be used as underwear.
     They also rotundly booed the U.S. national anthem when the Mexican national side played the U.S. in soccer this past August in Aztec Stadium. Nonetheless, after Mexico defeated the States 1-0 in sudden death, I was invited out for a "consolation" round of beer by my Mexican friends --a far cry from getting crushed or knifed, as might have happened in Holland, England or Argentina.
     The Mexican national anthem is bellicose: "a soldier in every child of God." Of course, we don't lag far behind: "the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air." My understanding is that "America the Beautiful" was at some point the United States' national anthem: "and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea." Tony Bennett substituted "America the Beautiful" for the Francis Scott Key war hymn when he sang the national anthem before a World Series game several years ago. Would that the U.S. Congress do the same.


     My comment: Baseball is war by other means, so a bellicose anthem in appropriate. Otherwise I agree strongly with David. Why not stress what is good in this country rather than its bellicosity? It is my turkey against Jaqui White's very bald eagle. Really, "America the Beautiful" is a more faithful expression of her soul. God bless her.

Ronald Hilton - 12/1/99


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