Today is Flag Day.
The flag I choose to represent this day was at Oltman Middle School in Cottage Grove MN on May 27, 2022. It is at half-staff. Three days earlier, on May 24, 19 people, 17 Fourth graders and two teachers, had been slaughtered at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde TX.
Also, I choose this day a photo of a very old poster print found in the basement of my ancestral farm in ND some years ago. It is of all of the U.S. Presidents to then-most recent, Theodore Roosevelt, elected in 1904. (He is standing at the right front; Abraham Lincoln frames the group at the left). Teddy Roosevelt was 41 years old, and vice-president, when he became President after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901. My grandparents purchased their new farm at the end of 1904 and occupied in the spring of 1905. That ragged ancient print carries its own story.
Just days ago I ordered a new book, recommended to me by my long-time friend in Fargo ND, and I recommend it sight unseen.
It is “The Language of Cottonwoods:Essays on the Future of North Dakota” by ND historian Clay Jenkinson. Though this book is very recent, you will see a number of reviews already. It is apparently thought provoking, and not only for North Dakotans.
(You may not recognize Jenkinson’s name, but if you’ve seen any of Ken Burns works, Clay has appeared in several as one of the narrator’s. And he was one of the narrators on the recent History Channel series on Theodore Roosevelt.) Here is more about Jenkinson.
Life is complicated these days. Whatever your particular bias, the United States of America is every single one of us, equally, who share the responsibility for our present and for our future.
We are not lone rangers. We are in this, together.
POSTNOTE: Clay Jenkinson’s book title including the word “Cottonwood” immediately brought back memories of something I wrote 17 years ago about a ND Cottonwood. You can access it here, click at the link below the photo of the tree, then on the Fall selection. I have not yet read his volume, so don’t know if his philosophy and mine intersect, and if so, how.