Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Embrace of the Flags. (Signs of the Times)

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Embrace of the Flags. (Signs of the Times)

Article excerpt

Perhaps the first thing people noticed at World Youth Day in Toronto last July 21-28 was that almost everyone was carrying some sort of flag. The interesting thing is that to the young people greeting each other, at times it seemed to matter little where the flag came from. "Where are you from?" they would ask each other. Once they had the answer--any answer--they would rally for that country as if it were their own.

But of course, there were more poignant moments--as when identical flags met one another and came to some sort of embrace. The flags might be identical, but the young people who carried them came from opposite ends of the world: Polish youth from Chicago met Polish youth from Warsaw; Filipinos from Toronto embraced Filipinos from Cebu; Vietnamese from San Francisco got together with Vietnamese from Saigon. It went on and on. Born and raised in the United States or in Canada, some of the flag-bearers had never been in the countries they so proudly represented, and yet, they felt their hearts pounding faster in recognizing "one of their own."

Javier, a young man from El Salvador, has been living in Chicago for the past three years and has not been able to see his family. …

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