Thursday, 8 May 2008
The vexed issue of flags... (great pun!)
Here are two flags I found flying locally - the first is the Green Flag awarded to Queen's Park and the second is the new Union Flag flying from Hampstead Police Station (the team in blue seem rather proud of the new one :-))
So I went back to when flags first came about and their purpose. It all starts in ancient china (don't most things innovative?) and then spread across the far and near east. However, our linguistics gives a clue in that the study of flags come from vexillum - Latin for flag - and the study of flags is vexillology.
The flippant situation is that the flag is just a piece of identifiable cloth - now for identification but of old for signalling.
In medieval and indeed until recent times they were key military identifiers especially on a confused battlefield or at sea where they are lightweight and can therefore be elevated quite high.
But there is also something about the flying of a flag that is quite emotional and raises the heart and emotions. I guess that's how the patriotic dilemna has then kicked in...