INKLINGS: Patriotic prose

  • Thursday, June 28, 2012

I saw a man wearing a tee shirt the other day bearing what I thought was a stunning phrase of support for our country. It clung to my mind so thoroughly that it led me to search for other words of backing for the USA which will boast 236 candles on her natal cake in five days. I found some which were very familiar and some not. But all touch a different place in any national heart.           How about this one from Walter Scott:            “Breathes there the man with soul so dead,           Who never to himself hath said,           This is my own, my native land!           Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd           As home his footsteps he hath turn'd           From wandering on a foreign strand?” Thomas Jefferson always had an economy of expression. No more so than when he said in eight short words: “Equal rights for all, special privileges for none.” Ralph Waldo Emerson only used six more to tell us how he felt: “For what avail the plough or sail, or land or life, if freedom fail? We’ve all read lots of quotes from Abraham Lincoln, but somehow this one I hadn’t heard before struck a chord in this patriotic season. “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” I’ll bet you can guess what Hollywood movie star made this statement, Pilgrim. “Sure I wave the American flag. Do you know a better flag to wave? Sure I love my country with all her faults. I'm not ashamed of that, never have been, never will be.” Of course it was Big John Wayne. Another John, President John F. Kennedy, said many inspirational things, none more so to my mind than: “We dare not forget that we are the heirs of that first revolution.” One of my favorite authors, the late Erma Bombeck put a light, but insightful touch on our upcoming birthday when she said: “"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." Patriotism flourishes in song with the most popular titles including: America the Beautiful, (America) My Country ‘Tis of Thee, Battle Hymn of the Republic, the Star Spangled Banner and one of the latest and greatest, God Bless the USA in which Lee Greenwood proudly proclaims: “And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” And of course there’s that Yankee Doodler George M.Cohan who assures us that: “Ev'ry heart beats true' neath the Red, White and Blue” Now what about that tee shirt? It said: “If you can’t stand behind our troops, please feel free to stand in front of them!” Amen. And Happy Birthday America!

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