Today’s Editorial May 08: Of flag and patriotism

Mr. Alfonso Wright is a man on a mission.

And we’re behind him 100 per cent of the way.

As the George Town Member of the Legislative Assembly sees it, we Caymanians need to be more patriotic.

He’s right.

A good place to start is with our national flag.

We don’t display it enough, especially at Government functions.

Our flag is what sets us apart, visually, from other countries throughout the world.

We all know when we see the red, white and blue banner that it represents the United States. When we see a bumper sticker sporting the colours of green, black and gold we instinctively know the bearer is a supporter of Jamaica.

While Mr. Wright isn’t suggesting that legislation be drawn up to enforce flag flying, he is suggesting procedural policies to have the flag flown that would become just another step in organizing Government-sponsored events.

The practice of flying the flag at Government events needs to be an ordinary, everyday occurrence; not an afterthought.

But flying the national flag doesn’t need to start and stop with Government.

We should all be flying our national flag as a show of solidarity and patriotism, and not just on our cars, SUVs and pick-up trucks.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, patriotism is love and loyal or zealous support of one’s own country, especially in all matters involving other countries.

Patriotism is not about having an attitude that our country is superior to any other country.

It’s not about a lack of respect for other people and cultures. Imposing our own beliefs on other people and cultures surely isn’t patriotism just as having closed minds doesn’t make us patriotic.

We aren’t patriotic when we don’t have knowledge about our own country or about world affairs. And believing in everything we hear and see doesn’t make us patriotic.

Patriotism is about respect for other people and cultures and respect for our fellow citizens.

Patriotism is about keeping your personal affairs in order and keeping yourself out of debt. It’s about conserving your country’s resources and knowing your country’s history.

Patriotism is about questioning those in power and voting.

And a good way to remind us all of our love for the Cayman Islands and our willingness to stand by her no matter what is to see a sea of blue flags bearing our crest and logo, He Hath Founded It Upon the Seas.

For a little edification, the Cayman Islands was granted its own coat of arms on 14 May, 1958. The arms depict three green gold-edged stars on blue and white wavy lines. This represents the three islands and the blue lines, the Caribbean Sea.

The red chief above the stars shows the Lion of England which represents the ties to the British. The turtle is the national symbol of the Cayman Islands and the rope it stands on represents the thatch rope industry that is an important part of Cayman’s history.

The pineapple at the top of the Cayman Islands arms symbolizes the part of history when the Islands were a dependent of Jamaica (which was until 1962 a dependent of Great Britain).

We are delighted that Mr. Wright is making it his mission to insist that the Cayman Islands flag be flown at all Government events. It’s just the right thing to do.

He wants us all to be proud and reminded at all times to show respect for our flag.

And he’s promised us he will keep this issue at the forefront until it is properly and satisfactorily addressed.

In the jargon of today’s younger folk – you go Mr. Wright!

We’re behind you every step of the way.