On July 3 1989 I was traveling with fellow ceramic artists in the Soviet Republiuc of Estonia. We were near on the last day of a three week tour of the republics of Russia, Latvia and Estonia. I was visiting a restored fishing village on the Baltic coast with three friends. The park was not officially open when we arrived. The caretaker, a small shirtless man named Guido, was painting the flag pole in the center of the village. When he saw that he had visitors he scurried off to get a so he could properly greet us. When he found out that we were Americans he became quite excited and explained that he had been painting the flag pole in preparation for American Independence Day. He brought out an old (pre WW II) American flag that he carefully unfolded folded to show us. He was planning to fly this old flag to celebrate our independence and to honor the freedom that it symbolized to the world. This little act of rebellion in a Soviet republic was very moving for the three of us who were US citizens.
The next day we flew home landing in Chicago. As our plane descended through a glorious cloudy sunset into O’Hare airport fireworks were going off all over the city. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more perfect. I experienced great feelings of gratitude for the freedoms I enjoy on this earth. I hope today that this American Dream is still spreading. Is it?