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Angel Hair feature

Jack Anderson: American Flag


Cover of Angel Hair anthology

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This is an American flag.

Here it is. Let these words be spoken or read, and if you
know this language you recognize this flag. Look, here are
the thirteen alternating red and white stripes and the
union of white stars upon a blue field.

A match is approaching the American flag. The American flag
is being set on fire. The match touches, first one stripe,
then the rest. The American flag starts to burn.

The reason why the American flag has been set on fire is to
protest American policies regarding the Vietnamese war. But
should this be read at some later date when the situation
has altered, then the flag is to be burned to protest any
subsequent evil caused by these American policies in Vietnam,
or to protest any other evil, anywhere in the world, in which
America may be involved.

The American flag is burning. It blazes. The flames leap
higher. Hear them crackle. Feel the heat rise.

Listen, listen and look: whenever you read these words, or
whenever these words are read to you, then an American flag
has been set ablaze. You can ’t stop it. The word has been
given. Right here you will always find that an American flag
is burning. Watch it burn and think upon evil.
Think also upon justice, prudence, and mercy.
.
.
.
Now the flames subside. The flames die out. The flag is ashes.
An American flag has just been burned.

from Angel Hair 1, Spring 1966


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