I have not wanted to declare American pride with such fervor since I was a child, when everyone was in the post-World War II habit of waving flags and singing patriotic songs whenever possible.
On this Inauguration Day I was not alone in wanting to proclaim “We are America!”, as loudly, with as many flags as possible. For those who cynically believe this emotion to be nothing but misplaced hope in a man, listen to us more carefully. The excitement and energy and hope that we demonstrate are more about us as a people than Barack Obama as a person.
This photo is of my daughter, C, who joined me on the east slope of the Washington Monument that wonderful day.
One thought on “Oh, Happy Day!”
September 12, 2001 I drove West through Yosemite National Park to San Francisco. This quiet rural route was transformed with flags as prevalent as pine trees at Christmas. I did not feel inspired; rather I felt confused at the sudden seeming declaration that I was where I always knew I was, The USA.
After arriving in SF, I met at the Pacific Stock Exchange with a room full of computer techs. As I recall, an Indian ran the meeting. Participants were from Africa, the Phillipines, and China, all Americans. Some may have been Christians, some may have been Muslims, one was openly Gay. All Americans. No flags.
In 2005, in the countryside of Scotland, as in Glasgow, we rarely saw the flag of Scotland. Somehow its rarity made it seem more understood, more powerful, perhaps even more beloved.
Earlier this week, in the high desert prairie near my house, I marvelled at small flocks of sage grouse and I found an American flag in the mud. Apparently it had fallen from someone’s boat as that road leads to the lake. Apparently no one noticed losing it. I thought of Betsy Ross, a woman, creating and sewing our first flag, so brought it home.
And now Kay has brought our flag home, too, in powerful experiences and words.