"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Singing, and a flag of finally free in the Baltics

One of the readers of today's blog lives in a country whose peoples have been invaded, subjected, abused and massacred for centuries it seems. I have no idea why someone from Latvia clicks on this blog, but I'm glad they do. One of the joys, strengths and plusses of the Internet is that it brings together people who treasure freedom and John Milton's free marketplace of ideas.
One of the hazards of being a people and a country in a strategic location is that other countries don't ask permission and simply overrun you for their advantage.
The flag of this Baltic state goes back to perhaps the 13th century. The red symbolizes the blood of their citizens lost in defending their liberty. One legend is that a leader wounded in battle was wrapped in a white sheet--thus the center white stripe. It's similar to a legend in Austria.
But the Latvians have been subjugated by the many, including the Polish and Swedish, and then the Germans, the Nazis and Soviet Union. More than half their population has been wiped out in various wars.
After the devastating WWI, the Republic of Latvia was founded in 1918 and the flag adopted. It was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, till the Nazis invaded, and after WWII, it was subjugated again by the USSR. During all that time, the flag was banned.
peaceful "Singing Revolution" between 1987 and 1991 led to independence of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 1991. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing_Revolutionn
With independence and the fall of the Soviet Union, the flag few again over this country. Complicating the picture is that a large minority of the population are native Russians. Here's a salute to a county and citizens who really value independence.

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