I used to fly the American flag, on most days, not just on Memorial Day and Fourth of July. I used to make sure I had a light shining on it when it got dark, or else I would take the flag in.
I used to look at that flag and think how unique it was. I used to think it represented the idea of hope and truth and compassion. I used to think it represented the idea that if there was injustice, this flag would insure justice would prevail. In global wars, in diplomatic conflicts, in international oppression, in domestic civil discord.
I used to think the flag a statement that here, if not anywhere else, is where freedom lives, lives strong, lives long and is for everyone.
I was proud of that flag for those reasons.
But, I guess, I was naïve.
I stopped flying the flag. Something had happened. The United States changed. In my naïve eyes it did. To me the American flag represented something the United States no longer was. The American flag was a flag without a country. I felt I could not tarnish that flag by flying it over the nation as it was at that time.
That time? 2001, of course. Surely, the change did not happen instantly, surely it was long unnoticed by my naïve eyes. But the face-slap that was 2001 opened my eyes and naivety was peeled away. To fly the American flag then, meant to fly it as a belligerent and oppressive warrior, as a torturer, as a war criminal. A petulant, self-interested, hate-filled, greedy, oppprtunistic, unintelligent, lying, moronic hypocrite.
The American flag was not that, and so it remained in the closet. Every day, every holiday. Collecting dust rather than collecting the imprint of the abhorring traits the nation was developing.
In 2004, I was anticipating the re-emergence of the flag and of what it had once stood for. No, the closet remained un-opened.
In 2008, finally, I knew we had changed, we had come back, raised ourselves out of the new Dark Ages. Down but not out, the nation was back. Back, but with a long list of wrongs to be righted. Mistakes to be corrected. Tarnish to be polished. Injustice to be checked and corrected. Truth, justice, sense, compassion need no longer to hide. That was what my neo-naivety told me.
It was not long at all before I knew the closet would not open.
The dust grows thick on that old and faded flag.
I wish there was something to be excited or proud about today. Sorry to be so glum, and this, my first post. The hope is there, that some day my American flag will fly again, bright, shiny and renewed.