This is the flag in yesterday's post, shot with the low sun behind it. Such an image stirs strong responses in many Americans.
It got me thinking about national flags in general, both as symbol and simply graphic design. Which countries' flags do you think are the most beautiful or most meaningful? Skim the list of 57 (at this writing) thumbnail flags at the lower left of this page, or check this or this exhaustive set of illustrations. As an American, I won't comment on ours. I might vote for the flag of Nepal as being the most original - the only one that isn't a rectangle - but for simplicity and powerful graphics I also like Japan. The flag of South Korea takes this design a step further, adding symbols of traditional philosophy. In the western hemisphere, I am partial to the celestial flag of Argentina, with its sky, clouds and sun. This has nothing to do with my feelings about a country, just the design of its flag.
What about national anthems? They go hand in hand with the flags. Unfortunately, many are very dull. IMHO, none come close to the kick-ass national anthem of France, La Marseillaise. Click this site, choose French or English, then click The Music/La Musique and listen to a recording by Placido Domingo - you can't stay in your chair. (Okay, he's Spanish, but just submerge yourself in his voice.) I also like the simplicity and purity of feeling of Oh Canada. Click that link for the lyrics in English and French as well as a downloadable mp3 played by an orchestra. A beautifully sung version may be found here.
What do you think about national anthems and flags? Tell us in your comments.
TOMORROW: Eat Rite Or Don't Eat At All