World Youth Day

We’re being visited by Pope John Paul II this week, and about a quarter of a million of his biggest fans. So far, World Youth Day has been a big success. It’s nice to see large groups of young people wandering around my city. But one thing bugs me. Why must the Americans always drape themselves in their flag? Quite literally, all the American young people I’ve seen have flag bandannas, flags on their t-shirts and/or are carrying big American flags. It’s always been obnoxious, and it always will be obnoxious. I’d thought that they were here for some higher purpose than patriotism. Sigh. (Maybe they’re afraid of being mistaken for Canadians?!)

8 thoughts on “World Youth Day”

  1. FWIW, flags have apparently become a bit of a fashion trend of late. It’s hard for kids to buy the brands they tend to like and *not* get a U.S. flag on their t-shirt.

    I’m hoping it’s a trend that passes rather quickly. But it might not be entirely intentional obnoxiousness on their parts.

  2. I agree with your sentiments about the flags, James. I’m rather sick of them myself. When I was in Montreal last week, we saw several delegations of young people who were apparently doing some touring before heading off to Toronto, and it seemed to me that many of them were also draped in flags of their country. If not that, then someone in the group had a large flag that they waved around regardless of where they were.

  3. I have a co-worker who has a smallish flag on his bumper. Walking through the garage together one day, we passed behind a 4×4 with a HUGE flag on its tailgate. I said, jokingly, “I guess he’s more American than you.” He was quick to defend himself – albeit awkwardly and somewhat self-consciously – as if he really didn’t understand that I was only teasing. I keep expecting to see a bigger flag on his car any day now. Let’s hear it for inferiority complexes.

  4. but he is not saying “on their tshirt”, he is saying literally wrapped in them. I was in TO on the weekend and saw the same thing. A lady stopped one of them and asked about the flag and the kid had no good answer, “its a statement.” She showed him some pin with a local politician on it and said, “that’s my statement.” The kid just looked at her strangely, “That’s nice…”

  5. Most of these (probably nice) kids had t-shirts that were specially made up for WYD by their local dioceses or youth groups or whatever. Why their CHURCH of all places should decide to put a huge nationalist emblem on their clothing makes me wonder. One nation under God? More like the other way around…

  6. Not to confuse things, but y4esterday I was walking down the street and this Chinese man was wearing a shirt that said Oh Canada on it as well as wearing a Red White and Blue American bandana. It was very strange indeed

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