Monday, April 19, 2010

Afraid To Fly Your Country's Flag

That would be the United Kingdom.

England is the least patriotic nation in Europe as people are too scared of being branded racist to fly the flag.

Over-the-top political correctness, loss of national identity, and worrying about being judged when expressing pride in the country are the main reasons behind the findings, according to a study.

Six per cent of Englishmen and women said they were 'scared' to fly the national flag and one in six fear they will be told to take it down.

Just one in three knew St George's Day was on Friday and more than 40 per cent had no idea why he is the patron saint.

The statistics emerged from a report commissioned by This England magazine, which took in the opinions of 5,820 adults in nine major countries.

Editor Stephen Garnett said: ‘We're incredibly disappointed that English people are afraid of displaying the St George's Cross on our patron saint's day.

‘We want to reclaim the flag from extremists by asking as many people as possible, no matter what background they come from, to fly it.

‘People who love living in England shouldn't feel afraid of showing their pride.

‘The more we display the St George's flag, the more we can drown out the voices of the extreme minority and reclaim the flag as a sign of national pride, not racism.’

Let's have a bit of an antidote to that story, shall we?

John Greenleaf Whittier. 1807–1892

Barbara Frietchie

UP from the meadows rich with corn,
Clear in the cool September morn,

The clustered spires of Frederick stand
Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

Round about them orchards sweep,
Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

Fair as a garden of the Lord
To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

On that pleasant morn of the early fall
When Lee marched over the mountain wall,—

Over the mountains winding down,
Horse and foot, into Frederick town.

Forty flags with their silver stars,
Forty flags with their crimson bars,

Flapped in the morning wind: the sun
Of noon looked down, and saw not one.

Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;

Bravest of all in Frederick town,
She took up the flag the men hauled down;

In her attic-window the staff she set,
To show that one heart was loyal yet.

Up the street came the rebel tread,
Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

Under his slouched hat left and right
He glanced: the old flag met his sight.

"Halt!"—the dust-brown ranks stood fast,
"Fire!"—out blazed the rifle-blast.

It shivered the window, pane and sash;
It rent the banner with seam and gash.

Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf;

She leaned far out on the window-sill,
And shook it forth with a royal will.

"Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country's flag," she said.

A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
Over the face of the leader came;

The nobler nature within him stirred
To life at that woman's deed and word:

"Who touches a hair of yon gray head
Dies like a dog! March on!" he said.

All day long through Frederick street
Sounded the tread of marching feet:

All day long that free flag tost
Over the heads of the rebel host.

Ever its torn folds rose and fell
On the loyal winds that loved it well;

And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Shone over it with a warm good-night.

Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.

Honor to her! and let a tear
Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,
Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

Peace and order and beauty draw
Round thy symbol of light and law;

And ever the stars above look down
On thy stars below in Frederick town!


Borepatch said...

Great poem to go with the story.

WV: roter -seems about right

Bob said...

@Borepatch: Thank you, Ted.