Alliance Creates a Patriotic Collectible
inJanuary 23, 2013 - 5:12pm
What comes to your mind when you hear the word, “alliance?” If you watch TV your mind may go to a reality TV show such as Survivor or Amazing Race or even Big Brother where contestants are thrown into nearly impossible situations with a group of strangers and the last man or team standing wins a big cash prize. Early in this TV genre contestants learned that the way to survive to the finals was to make agreements early in the game with other members in order to help get them to a point where victory was within their grasp before it was every man for himself. Recently Cinsababe and I attended the movie The Hunger Games and again alliances played an integral role as the young people formed agreements among themselves to stave off death until even those alliances broke down and a sole survivor became the “winner” of the Games. A while back Cinsababe and I were out at a flea market when we came across another reminder of “alliances” that caught my interest.
It was a small thing—just 1 ½” tall, bone china, but most unusual—it had three handles (what side do I drink from?). The transfer on the front was of five flags with the words “Triple Entente * United We Stand * The Allied Armies” emblazoned across a banner. This is why the miniature cup intrigued me. After all, although I am called Cowboy Rick, I spent a career in the military and I still work on military satellite systems. I also enjoy history, especially the WWII era. Needless to say, while this little knick knack caught my interest, it required me to do some investigating.
First I looked at the flags – I knew Great Britain, France, the old Russian flag and Japan’s Rising Sun flag. The last one I Googled and found it to be Belgium. Since they dated from before the First World War I figured that these had to represent some of “The Allied Armies.” So what was this “Triple Entente?” From my Spanish background I figured that it had something to do with understanding – entender is Spanish for “to understand.” I also knew that the Central Powers (Germany and Austria Hungary) and the Allied Powers (France, Britain and Russia) had entered the Great War. A little bit of research led me to the discover that the Triple Entente was an alliance, a cordial “understanding,” which resulted from series of agreements between France, Great Britain and Russia signed in the early 1900s which was meant to counter the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy in case of war. The mystery was unraveling.
Finally, and really not much of a mystery, was the saying “United We Stand.” We here in the United States understood the meaning of this during the days after September 11, 2001. Despite our differences in politics, we stood as a united nation against the terrorists who bombed our country. United We Stood! In the wake of that tragedy and the fiery patriotism that followed, we all bought and wore t-shirts and ball caps. We plastered our cars with bumper stickers and country singers sold millions of CDs with the bold messages of our unity. I suddenly understood the message and the marketing of this little cup. The turn of the century was a different day, and I guess a little bone china three handled cup did the job just as well as the remembrances we had of our solidarity of 2001. Oh, for those days again!