The days just before Independence Day can sometimes be frenetic. This was one of those days! I was racing up town New York City in a shared car. My mind was also racing, filled with worry, hoping to get to the ballet and my daughter at Lincoln Center, on time. I looked out the window to my right and took a deep breath to clear my head. That’s when “Freedom’s Care” caught my vision and temporized the city’s pace.
Two men of different backgrounds were carefully lowering a large American Flag from the front of a Citi building. It was a sight I’ve seen thousands of times. Yet, I’ve never seen it play out like this. At the moment, I was grateful to be stopped in traffic to watch the men with interest.
One man slowed his pull on the hoisting chain just enough to allow the other to reach out and grasp the descending flag. Both men demonstrated a practiced ability to gently caress our flag with reverence and purpose. I watched as they sought all four corners, moved their feet to extend the large banner’s full length and then meticulously fold it correctly into a triangle, with pride and honor. The car began to move forward again, just as the men completed their last careful fold.
The car was moving, but my mind was not. It was no longer racing toward the skilled, graceful dancers of Swan Lake. Perhaps it was because I had already seen a cherished, classic ballet on this warm evening? A ballet that some believe is no longer fashionable on the stages of our increasingly large, multicultural cities. Yet, I was there to witness it firsthand and feel its power in my heart. It reminded me of another car and another driver in the same city, often referred to as the “Capitol of the World.”
He was driving me to the airport as we conversed over the happenings of the day. He said, “Don’t ever worry about our patriotism here! We will stand with you by the thousands and perhaps the millions to preserve our shared way of life and constitution.”
Perhaps the three years since we had that conversation had dimmed his words of resolve in my memory. Now, two men, folding our flag with the art and grace of classically trained ballerino, brought his words back as we turned from 66th Street onto 9th Avenue, before pulling in front of Lincoln Center. When the car stopped, I got out with peace and calm in my heart.
“It is as if the City purposefully and powerfully reminded me of the importance of freedom’s care,” I thought.
Those two men of differing backgrounds, united the three of us as Americans, while they danced the “Freedom’s Care Ballet.” They reminded me of the importance of our Independence Day celebration.
Their well-composed and practiced dance captured my vision, calmed my heart and mind, and restored my faith that we will continue to live free in America.
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.