An Appeal To Heaven: The Battle Flag of American Colonists… and a Millennial?
When it comes to iconic images from the Revolutionary War, I imagine most think of Betsy Ross stitching up the stars and bars, or maybe Ben Franklin’s Join or Die illustration of the segmented snake, with each part representing a colony. In my book, Oh Great, Another Vampire Book, I chose to incorporate the infamous Pine Tree Flag, as it was commonly known at the time. Emblazoned with the words, “An Appeal to Heaven,” (and sometimes “Appeal to God”) the pine tree was an iconic image for New England; the Brits designated ones measuring 24 inches in diameter for their ships’ masts. The gall!
My main vampire, Roman McClary, was sired during the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Colonists flew this flag on the battlefield— a fight proving the militia could hold their own on the ground against the Brits. Alas, Roman is a true New England vampire— a Boston man who trained troops under General George Washington, supported the Abolitionist movement, and loves Larry Bird. As a remnant of the war, an Appeal to Heaven poster hangs in his bedroom of the Chestnut Hill mansion where he resides alone.
It is here in 2018 where the vampire brings a young woman he met on a dating app— a beautiful Boston University journalism student named Sara Fielding. Unbeknownst to them, a confluence of events leads to her becoming an ambassador to God tasked with healing the divide between humans and vampires. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a reporter, she broadcasts messages to the world. Her chosen sign-off after each broadcast is, “Appeal to God.”
The flag’s significance in my book is manifold. The phrase comes from John Locke, an oft-quoted philosopher among colonists. Locke questioned the divine right of kings, hence the appeal to God if the moment is sufficient. For Sara, appealing to God is literal. Her ability to communicate with the Creator places her in a unique position to convey this very real message. She toils for the greater good to avoid a massive war between humans and vampires.
In its original sense, the appeal is one against tyranny. Unfortunate for Roman, the act of a Redcoat turning a Patriot into a vampire is yet another form of tyranny. Roman is forced to accept immortality where everyone he knows or loves dies. Being a vampire is incredibly lonely, and the Brit who sired him, Zackary, abandons him with no guidance. It’s a good thing Zackary returns again to make amends and warn Roman of the impending war. It’s also good Roman lives near a Sephora so the vampires can shop and share makeup tips for concealing their skin that glistens in the sunlight.
With the glut of 24 hour news, social media, and a growing cultural divide, the appeal to God becomes skewed when a Millennial is placed in charge of things. Sara is passionate about journalism, has a high IQ, and good intentions. This brings to mind the proverb: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
It makes sense John Locke serves as inspiration for not only American Colonists, but for an ambassador to God. The question is whether or not Sara, in the wake of our cultural divide, forgets the definition of “tyranny.”
Diane Hunter is the author of Oh Great, Another Vampire Book. Visit her at dianehunterauthor.com