By Sarah DeClerk
Did you know that almost all established organizations use flags? Flags are everywhere, so much so that they may be easy to take for granted. Hidden in plain sight, they play an important part in culture, business and politics. Once you start looking for them, it is doubtful you will go anywhere without coming across one.
We all know organizations like schools, scouting groups, embassies, banks, car dealerships and government organizations buy and display flags. Some unexpected, yet notable, Flag and Banner customers include Anheuser-Busch, Walmart and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
Flags are often in the news as well. Both the Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party movements employed the Gadsden flag, a yellow flag marked by a rattlesnake and the words “Don’t tread on me.” Rainbow flags also infiltrated the news during the marriage equality debate. With the upcoming Presidential election year, the old Red, White and Blue will be displayed in every debate, on the campaign trail, during interviews, etc., as well as the National Conventions… but you would expect to see that.
Most people know that films use music sound tracks to convey a scene’s mood, but flags, banners and bunting also convey subtle and subliminal messages to an audience. Old Glory makes a cameo appearance in most major American films. This may be customary when soldiers bravely charge into battle with American flag patches on their sleeves or when a superhero, in a suit of red, white and blue, pledges to defend the country against the forces of evil.
However, the American flag is not just a fixture in overtly political films. It also appears in unassuming movies, like Adam McKay’s “Step Brothers,” which shows Old Glory at least twice in the first hour of the film. If you try spotting the American flag next time you watch a movie, it is likely you will not be disappointed.
Of course, the American flag is just one example. Films also use a variety of historical, international, state and custom-made flags. They are a handy way to identify a character or setting without saying a word. A rebel flag places a character in the South, but James Bond might prefer the Union Jack. Flags can also create a mood. What would the fascist regime in James McTeigue’s “V for Vendetta” be without its oppressive black and red banners?
Arkansas’ Flag and Banner is no stranger to the big and small screen. Its flags were featured in Gore Verbinski’s “The Lone Ranger” and Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” The company provides flags and hardware for TV shows like “Top Shot,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Nikita,” “Ultimate Survivor Alaska,” “Better Call Saul,” “Friday Night Lights” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.”
Next time you settle in for a TV show or a movie, try playing “I Spy a Flag” and see how many flags you can spot. You will be amazed at how they hide in plain sight!
BRAVE MEANING: noun: brave | 1.a brave person. | 2.to meet or face courageously:to brave misfortunes. | 3.to defy; challenge | 4.ready to face and endure danger or pain
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