In 1976,I was nine years old, and my country was marking its Bicentennial. It was a huge, exuberant, year-long celebration in a country already at ease with enthusiastic patriotism! My small Connecticut town was no exception: to complement the great big July 4 party, canvas replica flags were specially made in imitation of that first flag of the new nation in 1776. My father bought one, and it flew outside our modest home for years -- in America, flying a flag is often much more a decorative choice than a political statement. Eventually, he took it down, folded it up, and put it away in the basement. I rediscovered it, washed it, and it now hangs -- faded, tattered, and slightly stained -- in the sitting room in my home in Surrey. For me, an ex-pat now, it reminds me of a golden time in my own life, and of two special times in my country's history. It reminds me of what the United States stood for from its infancy, of the principles which founded it, of the pride which can be found there. And it reminds my half-English children of the living history which belongs to them too, although they barely comprehend it now. It binds my family's distant past to its distant future.