Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth Feelings

I'm having a nostalgia attack for the Fourth of July's past...6 or 7 years past....when our son, born at the end of the Cold War and patriotic to his child's core, spent the mornings decorating his scooter with red white and blue ribbons for the neighborhood parade, the afternoon playing and singing patriotic songs (a fascination that went back to his preschool years,) and the evening hosting "his" fireworks party.

He taught his parents, flag-shy since their own Viet Nam-era coming of age, to enjoy being patriots. Oh, always patriots with a memory, but still, for a time patriots, cautiously optimistic for a nation which had (at least mostly) taken the broad straight road in the world towards peace, justice, and neighborliness. We hung our flag out with the rest of our neighbors for a decade there. It was delicious.

This year it appears that only one neighbor has a flag out. Most of our neighbors have become quite elderly. And I suppose that even many conservatives OD'ed on flags after we endured the red,white, and gray tattered items people insisted on flying from their cars for months after 9/11. And at least some I suppose, have, like us, become non-patriots on account of unjust war, torture, military atrocities, and the blindest-take-all approach our elected leaders and their cronies are taking to the ecological crisis which is looming for our world.

It's more than nostalgia attacking me this morning, actually. It's a deep sadness for a national road not taken, a fear for the future for a near military aged child, for a near bankrupt nation, and for a near crisis blue-green world. Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come to thee.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Christine, for these comments, They mirror my own feelings on the fourth of July. May the Lord of the Universe stir our hearts to more righteous action.

Turtle Mountain said...

We historians are much to blame. It is historians and history teachers who condition the young to think of history as an epic battle among heroes named "Germany, England, China, the United States, etc." Nations are not beings. They make no decisions, they take no actions. Only individuals do that. The scoundrels making these decisions today can be found everywhere throughout history. Patriotism is not loving a country; it is merely admiring and celebrating specific, everyday citizens then and now who have lusted not for power, or wealth, or growth, but have worked and lived and laughed and shared themselves with integrity and wholesomeness - what my Dad meant when he said, "Jesse is such a decent person." The scoundrels in the center have usually been there. They can not get me to share their shame as if they spoke for me.

Steamhead said...

I, too, have stopped hanging my flag on national holidays, lest someone should think that it means we endorse the flag-wrapped policies of the current administration. What a shame.

I'm sure you are aware of this page on the UUA site, but just in case, here it is:
Facts on Military Service and Conscientious Objection

When our son turned 18, he wrote "I am a conscientious objector" on the registration card in red marker. (He also mailed himself a copy of it, which we keep in the deposit box in case of emergency.) He received a polite note from Selective Service advising him that, since there was no draft, there was no classification for COs. Still, they read it and responded to it, which I found interesting. Though there is no draft, someone is clearly paying very, very close attention to who's available.