In a very thoughtful response,
On Sat, 24 Jun 2000, Sandra Hollin Flowers wrote:
> So while I can't take part in this discussion on the same footing that
> men do, there's one thing I want to contribute to it, which is that
> the closest form of female bonding I can think of is that which exists
> among the women who have numbly received the folded flag from the
> coffin of their dead GI. The man who devised the standard consolation,
> and the men who offer it along with the flag, probably have no idea of
> the chill that a woman feels when someone says to her, "Please accept
> this flag in appreciation of your sacrifice for your country."
> S. Flowers
And I recalled all those 1968-69-70 network evening news broadcasts that
ended either with a rolling roster of the week's casualties, or clips of
funeral details folding the flag from the coffin and presenting it to the
widow or other family member.
Especially ingrained in my psyche are the times the widow or mother or
father turned away, refusing to touch the flag, and leaving the presenting
officer or NCO to tuck it under his arm and move the squad to its next
phase of activity.
Refusal was not the most common response, but as 1968 progressed and then
the lottery system came into use in 1969, a number of families openly
expressed bitterness over their loss in that explicit refusal of the
folded flag -- with network TV cameras present.
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