Earlier this evening I had to attend a rehearsal for a school event taking place tomorrow involving a number of our foreign scholars. The event is intended to promote understanding between nations - a laudable cause. I was there to carry the Union Jack for the marching in of the flags, the idea being for a citizen of each nation finding itself represented within our little community to carry in their nation's flag to the applause of all - to the accompaniment of the theme from Chariots of Fire: cheesy, but fun.
The flags follow in alphabetical sequence, to be fair to all. As a result this year the Vietnamese flag is adjacent to the Stars and Stripes in the final formation. As I looked at them so innocently together I felt strangely moved, a feeling that gained more rather than less power from the fact that nobody else present was aware of the significance of that juxtaposition, nobody else having grown up in the 1960's.
History is a nightmare from which we sometimes awake.