Why Mr. Putin? Why?—A Tale of Two Flags

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of joy and peace, it was the age of war and tyranny, it was an era of contagion at its worse, it was an era of vaccination at its best, it was a time for raising flags of victory, it was the time for lowering flags of  defeat, it was the spring of hope and the winter of despair, it was the end of COVID and the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Modified Dickens—A Tale of Two Cities)

Sitting on our loungers, with our eyes shut, we listened to the news and imagined, a flag hanging high above the Capitol Building, a black and white Surgeon General’s flag emblazoned with the staff of Hermes. A flag where the two interlocking snakes of the caduceus hissed “Victory over COVID-19.”

With tears in our eyes, we thanked G-d that the pandemic was over,”

For over two years, we lived in this age of contagion.

This age of morbidity and mortality.

And now the fear and loneliness had ended.

So we inhaled the cool fresh air, as if we were standing atop of Mount Hood.

And from the top of our lungs, we proclaimed, “Another crowning scientific achievement over fear and ignorance.”

Yet we wondered:

“What the hell are we going to do with all those masks?”

“When will we have our Times Square moment—the parade, with the open-air black limo convertibles, the cheering throngs and the confetti-filled sky?”

A Kodak moment with a bright blue sky filled with the yellow rays of sun light.

Rays of light reflecting off of black convertibles filled with Doctor Anthony Fauci, CDC reps and the mayor, all dressed in coats of confetti.

All of them standing and waving to the crowd of New Yorkers lining the streets.

As we watched New York’s finest marching across the avenues holding 18′ long black and white banners reading:

Thanks to Our Health Care Professionals For Saving Our Lives;

Thanks to Pfizer and Moderna For Creating the Vaccines.

As we listened to the marching bands playing, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

And heard the crowd join in:

Happy days are here again

The skies are clear again

So let’s sing a song of cheer again

Happy days are here again 

(Lyrics by Jack Yellen)

And we watched as the balloon handlers grasped the ropes tethered to a 30′ helium filled, corona-virus balloon branded with “Xs and crosses.”

Then we opened our eyes and saw another flag.

A flag with equally sized, horizontal bands of blue and yellow.

A desecrated flag glued to cold earth.

A flag stomped on by dirty black leather military boots,

Muddy boots worn by Putin’s invading army of murderers.

Russian soldiers spat, pissed and defecated on this blue and yellow flag lying in the mud.

Russian soldiers stole this smaller nation’s freedom, liberty and democracy.

For over two weeks, we have witnessed this unprovoked war declared by an evil dictator.

For over two weeks, we observed:

40 mile long Russian military convoys stuck in the mud;

Russian missiles bombarding apartment buildings, hospitals, churches and day care centers;

Dead bodies decomposing on the streets wrapped in blue and yellow flags;

Ukrainians living with fear, loneliness and death.

For over two weeks, we watched an exodus of the old, the young and the infirm leaving  their homes for refugee camps in  neighboring lands.

And for over two weeks, with tear-soaked faces, we asked, “Why Mr. Putin? Why?”

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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