Wednesday, November 11, 2015
A New/Old Flag
The flag on my classroom wall makes me happy. It’s a small flag, made of vibrant silk some unknown decades ago, and in a past life it hung in a classroom in “the old school.” I use quotation marks because hearing the spoken phrase “the old school” makes me imagine ghosts lurking in the cold, dank halls of the nearly 100-year-old structure where my husband attended elementary school. Really there are no ghosts, just some mold and spookily abandoned furnishings, cast-offs from every past generation of teachers at my small district.
When I accidentally knocked my newish, polyester classroom flag on the floor last year, I requisitioned a new one and patiently waited while the bureaucracy processed my request. In the meantime, I projected a standard image of Old Glory onto my SMART Board and we proudly saluted. When I remembered to fire up the machine in time for morning announcements. When I didn’t, we’d make a mad dash for the hall, where the office personnel and whoever else happened to be around saluted the hall flag. Our classes are small, so it didn’t seem like a big deal.
The replacement flag never came through, so this year I made it my number one priority (after scaling back my caffeine intake and getting more sleep) to get a new flag installed. This time, our wonderful maintenance person (a proud father of active duty servicemen), made sure I got my flag. To my delight, he scrounged up a replacement from “the old school,” and it was silk and vintage and mine.
Today, Veterans Day, I have sneaked many a peek at my flag where it hangs behind my desk, counting my blessings and savoring the brightness of the red (so much brighter in silk than polyester) that stands for the blood of my countrymen. Knowing that this particular flag was saluted for many decades by a patriotic crop of kids who walked the halls of “the old school” makes it that much more special.