Do you remember scenes likes these? I do. For me it was the time immediately following 9/11. That day is one of the few I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I remember the genuine fear of the unknown. What was happening? Who was responsible? What’s next? The fear was soon replaced with pride, and anger. The pride of being an American. Patriotism! Not new (for me) but stronger. How dare someone attack my country! How dare they kill my fellow Americans! The beauty of this time was that We, Americans, shared this patriotism and the outrage. It united us unlike anytime before in my lifetime and unlike any since. We were actually bonded by this patriotism we had in common rather than divided by our differences. Oh how beautiful. America the Beautiful.
But that was 14 years ago. What’s happened? Time. Just time. We naturally, but too quickly, returned to our pre 9/11 indifference. Maybe I’m just a victim of selective memory but it seems worse now than before. We were always proud to be Americans, although often too busy to notice. After 9/11 we really let it all hang out. We flew our flags on buildings, on our houses, our cars, even on our clothes. We said, “Buy American” and sang “God Bless the USA!” I don’t hear that anymore and I don’t see many flags. Worse, displays of American pride have actually become “inappropriate” in places. Are we experiencing a patriotism hangover? Well, you know what they say about a hangover, “Hair of the dog.”
Get your flags out of the closet! Fly them, wear them, salute them again. Everything that flag stands for built this great nation and is all that can sustain it. Never forget this and never forget those lives that were lost whether fighting fearlessly in battle, fighting for their lives on a hijacked airplane, or just sipping a cup of morning joe at the office.
God Bless America!