and the home of the brave

sun shining through the flag hanging proudly from my porch
sun shining through the flag hanging proudly from my porch

I don’t know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the call to fight for your country, but I do know what it’s like to be the 23-year-old girlfriend of a Marine who did. And it sucks.

Something happened to my ears that day. They became very aware of the messages of hate delivered and received by Americans every day. On the news, in the classroom, in the streets, at political rallies, in newspapers, at social gatherings. So much finger-pointing, blame placing, ifs and buts, name-calling. So much hate.

So I stopped watching the news, excused myself when conversations turned to politics, avoided reading the newspaper and instead, anxiously checked the mailbox every day for my letters, letters filled with something worth reading. Love.

I don’t care how you feel about politics or war or this country or any of it. When someone you love is picked up and placed across the world, placed somewhere with even more hate, none of that matters. All labels are stripped. You’re just someone, missing someone else, loving someone else, counting down the days until they safely return.

I wrote this on Veterans Day in 2004. I realize it’s kind of cheesy. A particularly unflattering, false accusation was thrown in my direction because of my support for that 23-year-old boy who was picked up and placed across the world, and this is how I dealt with it.

I Am

I am not a Republican
I am not a Democrat
I am not a Conservative
I am not a Liberal

I am not a Soldier, but I support those who serve
I am not a Warmonger, but I respect my country
I am not a Hero, but I know so many who are
I am not a Mother, but I grieve the loss of America’s children
I am not a Doctor, but I know Love can cure the deepest of wounds
I am not Religious, but I believe
I am not Alone, because so many fight for my freedom
I am not a Republican
I am not a Democrat
I am not a Label
I am a Woman
I am Strong
I am Free

I am an American

To my cousins, to my uncles, to my friends, to my dad, to my friends, to your sons and daughters, to your moms and dads, brothers and sisters, to all who serve, have served, or will serve, to everyone who has missed someone or been missed, because they were picked up and placed somewhere across the world.

Thank you.

4 Comments on “and the home of the brave

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