Chicago flag

My uniform patch of the Chicago flag

Everyone recognizes the Chicago flag, but not all Chicagoans know what our beautiful Chicago flag represents. Once I was eating lunch with my friend Mike when some tourists from France saw the patch of the Chicago flag on our uniforms. They wanted to know what the symbols on the flag meant. I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t know what the three white stripes represented back then. Mike explained all the symbols to the French tourists, much to their satisfaction. They were genuinely impressed that they had finally met a Chicagoan who actually knew what the Chicago flag represented. The French tourists left the restaurant and Mike and I continued eating lunch. When we asked for the check, the waitress told us that the French tourists had paid for our meal. Talk about the value of a little knowledge!

So, the three white stripes represent the three sides of Chicago: south side, north side, and west side. Notably, there is no east side of Chicago. That’s Lake Michigan! The two blue stripes represent the two bodies that help define Chicago: the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. However, I have also heard that the two blue stripes represent the two branches of the Chicago River. Don’t you just hate when there are two competing explanations? Each red star represents an important historical event of Chicago history: the 1812 Fort Dearborn Massacre, the 1871 Chicago Fire, the 1893 World’s Fair, and the 1933 World’s Fair.

In our era of politically correctness, the Fort Dearborn Massacre has been renamed The Battle of Fort Dearborn. It’s only a matter of time before this “encounter” gets softened even more. What’s next? The Fort Dearborn Cultural Exchange?

Now that you know the meaning of the Chicago flag, help share your knowledge of the city of Chicago and the Chicago flag to any tourist–whether from a foreign country or another state of the USA–who visits.


Stop means stop.

Everything happens for a reason. Or so I’ve heard. I just can’t figure out why.

Anyway, a while back, I was driving in Lincoln Park on Chicago’s north side. It was dark and it was raining, which meant I couldn’t see the road very well. With my impaired visibility, combined with my occasional inattentiveness, I didn’t see a stop sign on a major street as pedestrians crossed the street. They assumed that I would stop at the stop sign. Well, I didn’t apply my foot to the brake until I saw a pedestrian directly in front of my car. I would have hit him if he wouldn’t have jumped back! We both realized that I almost ran him over. He started swearing at me and beating the hood of my car with his umbrella.

Suddenly, we look at each other’s faces in recognition. We actually know each other. “Greg!” I shout. And he stops beating my car. “Dave?” he asks in disbelief. I open my car door and he gets in. I had not seen Greg Rubenstein in about five years because he moved to Oklahoma where his company had transferred him. We used to do the print layout together for the  CARA’s magazine The Finish Line and we both ran for the University of Chicago Track Club.

He apologized for denting my hood and I apologized for almost running him over and leaving him a quadriplegic. I reminded Greg that the last time we met was for dinner at a restaurant and that he had treated, so I owed him a dinner. Just by chance, this incident occurred at dinner time, so we went out to eat.

We were both impressed by our fortuitous encounter and how it was such a coincidence. So he told me about another recent coincidence in his life; apparently his life is full of coincidences (and so is mine!). He traveled to Europe on business. He was at Heathrow Airport when someone bumped into him from behind. He soon realized that his wallet was missing! So chases the man who bumped into him. Since Greg was a runner, he’s closing in on the thief. Greg is yelling, “Stop him! He stole my wallet!” A man coming from the opposite direction tackles the pickpocket. They both hold the thief down until airport security shows up. When Greg and the Good Samaritan get a good look at each other, the man says, “Greg you are always getting in trouble!” They went to high school together.