whats in a name

What’s in a Name?

So, are you wondering what the heck “Flamingo 91” means or represents in my header? Here’s the answer.

Let’s start with “Flamingo.” Flamingoes are beautiful, gregarious wading birds. They love to dance, yes, they have a special ritual type dance. They have a uniqueness all their own, and they’re fun to watch. An ancient Phoenix myth describes an immortal bird who was consumed by flames (living on hot volcanic lakes), then rose from the ashes.

The word “flamingo” is associated with fire: it derives from “flamenco” Spanish through Latin, a word that has its root in “flaming.” Their color is actually caused by beta carotene in their diet, but that’s irrelevant to this story, except for the fact that I love their coloring.

So, we have a firebird (flamingo).

firebird91Next is the “91.” Most of you know this, but for those who don’t I’ll explain. My brother, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby, US Army, Vietnam, was declared MIA January 10, 1970. He was a helicopter gunship pilot, and his call name was “Firebird 91.” After his loss that call name was retired and never used again by his company, the A501st Aviation Battalion, 71st Assault Helicopter Company stationed at Chu Lai. His remains were identified in 2006 and buried in Arlington National Cemetery May 2007. The “Rattlers” flew the “slick” helicopters (transporting troops in and out of combat) and the “Firebirds” flew the gunships protecting them all, and flying combat missions.

I wanted to have a “call name” similar but with my own identity, but include him. I previously shared stories of him on this website but have recently moved those to his own website.

There you have it. “Flamingo 91” is derived from “Firebird 91” and couldn’t be more perfect for me with my love for flamingoes and my love for my brother. I’m dedicated to keeping his legacy alive so he is not forgotten (a scholarship has been endowed at Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University for US Army ROTC cadets in his name). I’m an Associate member of the Rattler-Firebird Association and have met and become friends with many of his comrades from his era who were friends and/or flew with him (heroes they all are). I lost one brother but have gained a whole company of helicopter pilots of brothers.

Some day I would like to dance with various “wild flamingo flocks” around the world, or at least watch them dance from a safe distance. I would also like to go to Vietnam on a site excavation searching for remains, or visit the area where Firebird 91 and his crew went down. I must put these on my “bucket list.”

I have been known to have the “tacky flamingo flock” placed strategically in a patch of ferns on one side of my house. My hubby wouldn’t let me put them in the front yard so I found the perfect spot so I could see them every day! They made a beautiful statement and made me smile. I have plastic, stuffed, antique, tacky, beautiful, ceramic, posters, paintings, jewelry, photos and more flamingoes in every room of the house, some very subtle, some standing very proudly. Yes, I love them all. My husband, and good friend, Pam, surprised me on my 50th birthday with a flock in the front yard when I woke up that morning. I was elated!

ml with flock The term “a florida duster” is used to describe the flamingo tail feathers dusting along in their ritual type dance of life which is what I plan to do with this blogsite…journaling my unique dance of lovin’ life!

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. Hi MaryLou,I have enjoyed your blog site. I got to it through the Wreaths Across America newsletter. I am a member of the Civil Air Patrol and participate in the Wreaths Across America campaign. Thank you for sharing your stories and for helping to keep patriotism alive in America. We are a military family and know the meaning of sacrifice. Take care and keep on enjoying life to the fullest. I love your pink flamingos.Patricia C.

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