We put our flag away the weekend after Memorial Day, and here we are, unfurling it again on this gorgeous lavender evening, twilight hour thick with lightning bugs and the smell of fresh -cut grass. Down the block someone sets off a bottle rocket – whine and pop, laughter – and through the open screen I can hear the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner. When we wrestle the flag pole into its bracket, the brilliant stars and stripes are glorious against the smooth purple sky.
It’s good to be here, isn’t it? Here, barefooted in my front yard in the middle of my town in the middle of my country.
And I love tonight – the carnival lights and the stink of spent firecrackers, the facepaint, the music, and all the rowdy raucous hullaballoo that is so us.
So noisily, uniquely American.
Here, tonight, we won’t question ourselves. Let’s not bemoan our property taxes, the healthcare system or illegal immigration. Instead, let’s remember who we are, where we came from. We the people. The first ever, anywhere, to believe that a dream could be shaped into a government and made to work not just for a few, but for all. We the people who absolutely could not wear the cloak of oppression, could never bow before a king or accept a class system. We the people made up of different religions, colors and ethnicities but yes, all us. All American.
Tonight, we’ll cheer about that. We’ll sing about a flag that waves in every hollow, on every mountain, across the prairie of this, our home.
Happy birthday to us – may we never take us for granted.
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