The U.S. Flag and Me

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Image: wilsoninfo.com

The Washington D.C. area is full of U.S. flags. It’s this nation’s capital, so it makes sense that there are U.S. flags flying everywhere.

However, growing up in the ’70s and ’80s in a pre-9/11 New York, I didn’t see a lot of flags. Visiting New York post- 9/11, I know the situation changed.

But Washington, D.C. definitely wins for the number of U.S. flags flying per square foot.

At the immigration rally last week, there was a sea of U.S. flags. There was talk online about rally participants being asked to only carry and display the U.S. flag at the event.

I carry a lot of baggage around the U.S. flag.

While I was born and raised in the United States, my heart doesn’t soar when I see a large U.S. flag on top of a monument or building, swaying gently in the wind.

When I see a large U.S. flag on top of a monument or building, swaying gently in the wind, I think about a picture of me at six years old. I’m singing a song for Flag Day with the rest of my kindergarten class at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, Queens. I’m singing as loud as I can, the pride that I feel for my country written all over my ignorant and innocent face.

When I see a large U.S. flag on top of a monument or building, swaying gently in the wind, I’m reminded that there’s been more deportations under President Barack Obama than during any other presidency in U.S. history. 

When I see a large U.S. flag on top of a monument or building, swaying gently in the wind, I’m flooded with the memory of seeing my husband in handcuffs, wearing a prison uniform.

My husband woke up next to me in our bed the day he was deported. Yet, just a few hours later, we had to pick up phone receivers on opposite sides of a bullet-proof glass window to speak with each other.

So I’ll never carry a U.S. flag at an immigration rally, or at any other event.

Because I’d like my husband to be able to enter the United States again from a place of social justice, of righting a wrong.

But it’s most definitely not from a place where my heart soars when I see a U.S. large flag on top of a monument or building, swaying gently in the wind.

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