It is the Fourth of July, 2018. As I sit in my office and look out at the peaceful and idyllic setting that is my back yard, I am conflicted today. Should I in any way acknowledge or “celebrate” this anniversary of our Country’s birth? I don’t feel very much like waving a flag or watching a parade today. It feels, somehow, so hypocritical to do anything “patriotic”, when there is so much division and strife all over America.
Yet, there are tugs at my heart when I think of the brave people, including my own family members, who have served in the Armed Forces to preserve the Freedoms that we would celebrate today. Am I dishonoring their sacrifices? Am I forgetting all that has gone before because of the train wreck that I am watching today?
In 1776, when this Country’s Independence was at stake, my British ancestors had left for Nova Scotia, being Loyalists to George III, and my Italian and Irish ancestors were not here yet. In subsequent wars, my relatives fought to defend their adopted homeland. They came here seeking refuge from poverty, starvation, and discrimination. They worked hard, raised their children, and made this Country stronger and better by being good citizens and contributing their talents and skills to the workforce and the communities in which they lived. All were Immigrants and Refugees in the purest sense.
So, my DNA is part of that complicated woven fabric that has created a garment we call the United States. It has flaws in its warp and woof; but it has remained intact enough to still be worn, holes and all.
The kind of tearing apart this garment is undergoing today may take away important components of the whole piece. Can we still wear this coat of many colors with dignity? Or will the ripping make it so torn and tattered that we can no longer even tell what it was? I am not certain. But I do know that I feel very disheartened and sad for our Country. Maybe I am, despite my Tory heritage, a Patriot after all.