Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Wrong Flag

Australia is often described as the 51st state of the US, because so many of our habits, and our standard of living, are similar, and because our Politicians generally do exactly what the US tells them to. Much of our TV is US-made, but you notice one thing in almost every program which we here in Australia should learn from. The Yanks show their flag constantly. It hangs from businesses, ordinary homes have flagpoles in their front yard, its everywhere. 'Old Glory' is an affirmation of their pride about being American, and a constant reminder of their patriotism. At the risk of adding one more piece of American culture to our own, I suggest that we Australians should take a leaf from their book in this regard, and show the flag more often. We DO show the flag on special occasions and sporting events, but I'm suggesting that, like Americans, we should show it more, personally.

Anzac Day yesterday was awash in Aussie flags, of course, as is every war memorial occasion. Its just a pity it was the wrong flag. At the time of the Anzacs and Gallipoli, the flag we went to war under was the red ensign shown here. If you're going to commemorate an historical event, how about doing it accurately? We already celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ (who was born somewhere nearer the middle of the year), and Easter as his death (it was his resurrection). Perhaps in 50 years we'll use roses for Remembrance Day because poppies are controlled plants now. Perhaps in remembering Auschwitz we will mourn for all those Muslims who lost their lives there, because the Jews now all live in New York. Perhaps we'll move Australia Day to April 1st, and we'll have a giant white rabbit in Anzac uniform driving a sleigh and handing presents out to Moms and Dads only, so that we can roll all our mistaken holidays into one.

There is only one thing worse than being ignorant of our history, and that is thinking you know it. As Mark Twain said, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

Australia's Forgotten Flag - The Red Ensign

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