Sunday, July 05, 2009


When I was in fifth grade, I wrote my only patriotic poem (this was 1967, in California, right before I fell under the spell of the peace movement.) It started, embarrassingly, like this:

Give me liberty or give me death,
Said Patrick Henry from his royal breath,

He talks about the Battle of Bunker Hill,

O when, O when, O when will the battle ever stop.

If we wish to be free we must fight,

Don't just stand there and say you might,

Stand up and say you WILL,

fight the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Oh dear. It went on for several more stanzas in an equally 5th grade sort of way.

Anyway, like many Americans born of a certain generation, I struggle with the concept of patriotism. Every year on the 4th of July, I get great pleasure watching our little village parades, and seeing the fireworks, and gathering together with people I love. But I still feel conflicted by the references to US military-might and American swagger.

I feel like these little girls in the Barnstable Village parade yesterday worked out a happy balance:

In a sea of red white and blue, this girl marched in the parade wearing yellow.

Or this girl, who did the whole red, white, blue (and pink) thing, but wore her peace sign necklace. Also, for her, it was mostly about the candy.

See more parade pictures and other recent photos on my flickr photostream.

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