.....which was good. Because when you don't love something you lose it.
We were losing it. But now the flags are out again, and loving America isn't considered a faux pas, or evidence of limited intellect. The thing now is to see it doesn't degenerate into mere conceit: "We're No. 1, we have the best tanks." That's triumphalism. Patriotism is solid and grounded; it holds up the ideal of a nation founded on the equality of men; it has to do with founding documents, guaranteed freedoms, clear rights, stated responsibilities. That's what the flag stands for.
It's certainly how Michael Mullan must have seen it. And the boy in the red bandana, too.
And that in the end is my Sept. 11, a trauma that was transmuted into a heart and a cross and a flag. Each expressing a facet of a great and fabled people who are still, one year after, the hope of the world.
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