Monday’s Rune: Independence Day

On This July Day

Born a year after
the last big war,
for decades,
I said the pledge
with hand over heart and sang
patriotic songs.

I took cover under my desk,
was a Boy Scout of America
who could properly fold the flag
and post the colors at twelve.
I prayed every day. I trusted God.

I played at war and we
always won. We were
always right, better,
and stronger. Powerful,
but merciful.

I enlisted before
graduating from high school,
I saluted. I knew, followed,
and respected flag etiquette —
still do. I swore
to protect our Constitution.

I spent two careers in the service of
(willing to, but not wanting to,
die for) my country—my people.
I thought I taught my children well.

examining my conscience
I find I am a man of a different mind,
No longer as certain of our goodness,
of our unitedness, of our honest
democracy. I feel fooled and
deceived. I feel hated by my own.

It’s not the date, it is the old spirit
where I question my allegiance,
to what or whom?

It is still in me. I still care.
But nothing is the same.
Confidence is dead. For our
freedoms, I worry with dread.

I feel conflicted. Lost.
Our enemies are close.
How patriotic am I?
I should be. I want to be.

In truth, I feel this way
not because I no longer love
my country,
but because I still do.

Happy 4th, anyway.
Be careful out there.

Look both way as we try to understand.
But deeply mind the gaps.
Even the Nazis thought they were right.

According to THIS Gallup poll, it’s a thing.


11 thoughts on “Monday’s Rune: Independence Day

  1. I know precisely what you feel Bill, having served my country, and people, for 28 years. I look now and know that, although I did it for the right reasons, and would do so again, we seem to have made so very little difference! Happy 4th to you, and thank you for your service.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this, Bill. For it indeed echoes what I’d posted yesterday, and what many others – I’m sure – feel, as well. I loved the way you worded this painful place to be, and I especially liked these lines:
    “…In truth, I feel this way
    not because I no longer love
    my country,
    but because I still do.”
    Indeed. Or it would not hurt so!
    Thank you, again. For you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You and Na’ama have both written echoes of each other beautifully in your own way.
    Love for one’s country should not change because there are zealots around trying to destroy it in the name of “patriotism” – there is a lot more nationalism, methinks. Patriots would actually know what you were celebrating yesterday and there are great numbers who think it’s all about picnics and fireworks and nothing else.

    Liked by 1 person

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