Americans harbor an intense love for the Stars and Stripes.
It’s a common sight to see the American flag not only flying at many businesses but also at sporting events and outside people’s homes. The flag is on T-shirts, hats, and even bikinis (which were designed in France, by the way). For the United States, the flag stands as a symbol of patriotism and acts as a popular motif.
Here in France, I see the French flag outside of government buildings (namely city hall). I also saw it during an Armistice Day ceremony to honor military forces. But I don’t usually see it anywhere else. No one wears T-shirts with the French flag.
I asked some of my French coworkers about the protocol for flying the flag. They said displaying it outside one’s home makes a statement, and not a patriotic one like in America. If a French home flies the country’s flag, it signifies that the household supports the National Front, an anti-immigration political party in France.
It’s strange that displaying a country’s official flag in that very country can be controversial. I never even realized that Americans have such a fervor for their flag until a few weeks after living here. This week, I taught some of my classes the national anthem of the United States, playing a rendition by Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl in 1991. I started seeing the video clip how my French students must see it.
There are so many flags being waved.
Wow, there’s one flag as big as this classroom.
That’s weird. Someone in the crowd is holding up a sign that reads “God Bless America.”
Americans have a great love for the flag, and they don’t reserve it just for Independence Day. But I wonder if the flag’s power is cheapened because of its overuse in bikinis, underwear, and other places where you probably don’t want to see your national flag.