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March 18, 2013

St. Patrick’s Day: Missed Metaphors?

I in no way mean any disrespect to fire fighters or to those “first responders” who lost their lives on 9/11. That said, it’s hard for me to gather the logic of this photo. The caption reads:

Holding flags in memory of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks, members of the New York City Fire Department make their way up New York’s Fifth Avenue as they take part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday, March 16, 2013.

If yesterday had been Memorial Day, the photo would make sense. If it was 2011 instead of 2013 … to “bend” St. Patrick’s day into a round anniversary year, that would sort of make sense. Otherwise, I’m not seeing the link between St. Patrick’s Day 2013 and a 9/11 tribute except for the fact that so many police officers and firefighters in New York, I believe, are (and, were) Irish.

Am I off base here, or might this display reflect an obsessiveness with commemoration? or, an American obsessiveness with 9/11? Considering how emphatic (and “green-free”) the demonstration is, especially the sea of American flags, what makes most sense here is how the photographer framed and exaggerated the skyscraper-like letters on the ground as that much more punctuation.

(photo: Tina Fineberg/AP)

  • black_dog_barking

    Ten years ago, St Paddies, our smallest president took to the prime time air to give S Hussein and his ilk 48 hours to leave Iraq or face consequences. I’ve never thought it coincidence that this announcement came at a peak moment of American drunkenness. Looking back it is not hard to see parallels between our second Iraq adventure and the general arc of a bout of binge drinking.

    BTW, does anyone remember this strange concept of “consequences”?

  • bill

    St Patty’s is, at its origin, a day celebrating a Christian saint. Granted, it’s been “secularized” a bit, particularly in Irish communities. (And the fact it falls on a Sunday this year would ,if anything, add to its religious/churchly dimensions.) What the flags say to me is just how much we, as a nation, have thrown “separation of church and state” out the window. What’s next, flag parades on Good Friday?

    • Scarabus

      St. Patrick is a *Catholic* saint. The Protestant equivalent, politically, is William of Orange. The Irish flag is green, orange, and white. My father was born and reared in Scotland, just outside Glasgow. He told me that on St. Patrick’s Day Catholic boys would wear green, while Protestant boys would wear orange. Quite often insults would turn to fighting.

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