Wednesday, July 13, 2005

How Our Flag Came to be...or NOT

July 6, 2005
By: L.A. Kohl
(published in the July 13. '05 edition of the "Bullseye")
It was the Fourth of July weekend…and we were returning from Columbia late one evening. Nate was having a hard time staying alert while driving, and the kids in the back were tired and arguing. I decided to “kill two birds with one stone."

“Hey Nate – why don’t you tell the kids a story?” I asked, figuring it would help keep him awake, and help quiet the younger ones.

Without hesitating a moment, he began this silly tale that for some reason I thought I’d share with all of you. Let’s see if I can retell it, in a condensed sort of way:

“Long ago, there was a small island by the name of Lahua-ua, that had a prince named Kalawala. Now the island had a long standing tradition, that before becoming king, a prince had to prove himself by performing some great and daring deed. Other princes of generations past had slain sharks, went exploring to distant islands and rode whales, among other things.
Now, our young prince Kawala-ala (as he was sometimes called) wanted to perform the greatest, most daring deed of all, so he announced to the people of Latuna-wooa (as it was sometimes called) that he was going to build a large ship and sail halfway around the world.

‘Oh great prince, how you be our king, if you on other side of world?’ the people asked.

‘Good point,’ replied Prince Kapatawana (as he was sometimes called). ‘Then I have to go all the way around.’

‘Ugh – that be much too far and long a trip!’ they lamented.

‘Not if I go south and sail around the bottom of world, where it be smaller,’ our wise prince replied.

So off he went one day, with a crew of sturdy natives, to begin his adventure.
As you may have guessed, the island of Lawua-hua (as it was sometimes called) was in the tropics, and none of the native Lawua-huaians had ever sailed anywhere out of the tropics. So, imagine their surprise one morning, after sailing past 45 degrees south latitude, when they woke up to a world of whiteness. Snow had fallen during the night!

‘Burrrra, buurrrraaa,’ all the islanders said through their chattering teeth.

But the snow was so fascinating and beautiful, they wanted to celebrate and play with it. Thus, all the natives dressed in red went to the stern, and all the natives dressed in blue went to the bow of the ship…and they had their very first snowball fight! The snowballs flying amongst the red and blue lads shone like bright white stars. And that is how our flag came to be.”

One moment please…what about Betsy Ross? Okay, so there’s a little more to the story.

“When Prince Kutua-ona (as he was sometimes called) returned to the island of Latuka-lua (as it was sometimes called) he married a young maiden. Her name probably should have been Princess Oolahua, or Princess Lana-wana, but alas – it was merely Elizabeth.
So, King Kaluawala and Queen Liz (as they sometimes came to be called) had many years of happiness together. They loved to tell the story of the king’s great adventure, especially the colorful snowball fight, to their children, who in turn told it to their children. Amongst those grandchildren was a young girl named after her grandmother, Elizabeth. Or, Betsy, as she was sometimes called.”

And now, THAT is how our flag came to be. Or at least, that’s a spur of the moment, fairy-tale version…just don’t go repeating it to your history teacher.

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