Our church conducted a special service to honor the local men who put their lives on the line each day to serve, combining it with a September 11th memorial. I had easily avoided the reminders of the tragedy that had occurred the past year, knowing I would have difficulty dealing with the images again. I chose to keep them in my heart.
The service had a proper touch of memory interlaced with humor. It was well done. At the end through the magic of computers and digital imaging a large flag unfurled in a breeze on the front wall of the sanctuary and the congregation sang God Bless America. I wept - without reservation - I wept. I listened to the song rise around me, I watched the flag in front of my eyes, and I wept.
I know people who cannot say the pledge of allegiance because the government in this country does not abide by the words to which that allegiance speaks. They do not sing that song because they feel Americans declare the right of entitlement from God to ravage the world, ignore the blights they create, and sing away with great passion demanding that God bless this nation. And me, well, I agree with that sentiment.
I watch the flags unfurled from homes, cars, and backs of trucks and wonder if this is true patriotism. Waving a flag – without consideration for what that flag may stand for in someone else’s mind.. I do not agree with the politicians that rule our country. I do not agree with policy that ravages rain forests, fights wars to increase oil prices, and takes no value in human life. Can this one woman raise her voice and argue against the wrongs committed in God’s name and in the name of this country and change it. Probably not. I can only be and bring what I can to my small world, be a conscientious voter and objector when I need to be. And though I continue to disagree with government policy, the next time I am in a crowd and the national anthem or God Bless America is sung; as I watch the flag flow in the breeze, I will weep for the ideal imbedded in that image even though it may never be achieved.