February 17, 2005 - Ed, White, and Blue
The blue cups shown here are on a fence on the ocean side of the road where Shoreline Drive turns the corner and changes its name to Meigs Road. Anyone who runs the Nite Moves course should know the place well. On the other side of the fence are the old Santa Barbara Lighthouse and a U. S. Coast Guard housing compound. The blue cups combine with red and white cups to create an American flag. The dedicated staff of edhat.com went out to count the number of cups in the cup flag. And, seeing as how it is by military housing, we counted as follows:
“Cup, 2, 3, 4, Cup, 6, 7, 8. …”
Like a real flag, the cup flag has 13 rows (alternating red and white). It also has 24 columns.
Quick math gives us 312 cups in all! Yesterday, there were 3 cups missing (all red), so actually the total number was 309: 48 blue, 120 white, and 141 red. The blue and red cups are plastic. The white cups are Styrofoam. Each empty cup is stuck into the chain link fence with its underside showing to the road, and its open side to the ocean.
The cup flag has been there since last fall. It was put up as part of a homecoming celebration for a Coast Guard resident’s son who had just completed Marine Corps boot camp. The story is best told in the words of the mother, Kimberly Fien.
“Our family transferred from San Diego two weeks after our son Tyler Brooks graduated from high school and left for Marine Corps boot camp.
Because he no longer had a familiar place to call home after his September 10, 2004 USMC boot camp graduation, it was important for us to make him feel welcomed home at our new duty station here in Santa Barbara.
"Our Coast Guard neighbors - some just transferring here themselves- joined in by placing Welcome Home posters in their street-side windows, signs on the entrance gate with his name and rank, and an incredible American flag on the fence of our neighborhood. And, to make him feel like he was honored with his own parade, some of the children lined the curb and waved American flags as we drove through the front gates bringing him here for the first time.
"We didn't allow him a chance to do much more than unload his sea bags and uniforms before we hauled him to our common area, in which the lighthouse is situated, for a neighborhood BBQ.
Though he stood at attention for quite a while and addressed each adult with a Yes, sir or Yes, ma'am, the smile on his face was evidence that he truly felt at home.”
Obviously, Tyler’s homecoming was a special day. The Coast Guard residents, “left the American Flag up on the fence to remind us not only of our son, but of the many U. S. service men and women away from home serving our country.”
Tyler’s mom told Edhat that her son will be going to Iraq in September.
“I miss my son,” she said, “Knowing others here in Santa Barbara will see this flag and know it's significance will give me another reason to be proud of PFC Tyler Brooks.”
So, those cups aren’t empty after all!
Over 25 subscribers correctly identified the flag in yesterday’s contest, and that’s not counting the close-but-no-cigar entries who said “Washington School”. A random (dog-less) drawing chose Bean as the winner of an Edhat t-shirt. It’s bean a long time in coming, eh?
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