The day after Thanksgiving, I am looking at a somber photograph of an American soldier's casket carried by soldiers in uniform to his resting place. The flag draped over the casket symbolic of service rendered to the nation is an honor each in attendance feels in their bones. Each man is solemn, alone in his thoughts, together in their task honoring a fallen comrade with his casket interlocking their emotions. It doesn't matter how he died that hurts. It is that he died the way he did, and being young enough to believe in the conflict he died for is its own reward, and demise as war thickens understanding of one's nation's true spirit for a soldier under fire, and the indoctrination of governmental policies that sacrificed another man's life for a cause masked as patriotic!
In battle life changes. Intent becomes clear. Government policy becomes what it is, a reflection of a culture's sense of self in relation to others. Seeing the futility of the propaganda of how a soldier got there and why it was important to be ignorant enough to be molded into a combat solider for the sake of freedom is a bitter taste in the mouth when intelligence reaches the soul. On the sidelines white American citizens are rallying around at ball games and state functions making heartfelt cries from their hearts. Their fists are clinched around flags clamoring for attention above reason fervently believing in their insistence that the American way is the way of God!
In that doctrine lie their children-soldiers dead, dying or crippled for life in their uniforms on a foreign battlefield in a part of the world their Christian religious texts say was the Garden of Eden, the birthplace of Adam and Eve from the Hebrew creation story many whites believe is theirs. On the ground one can easily speculate, or listen carefully when the boys come home as men what they say about what settles hard within their guts about the American propensity for conquest by any twist of logic!
I have listened. It is heartbreaking.
Anyway. Back to my first illustration the caption of the photograph I was painfully studying with a father's eye teared by the boy's loss to his family, and the ideal he thought he died for read:
"This is why we stand up for the American flag." type Respect.
I gagged. My response was thus:
"This is why we stand up for the American flag." Respect? I am not a white man. That fact alone separates me from the vagueness, the assumptions of such a declaration, and the untenable affirmation following. The implication of the declarative, and the association of the American flag a person is to assume is a declaration that we as American citizens have the military right to forge ahead on any cause without rebuttal, or consequences is supposed to be patriotism, allegiance to the American way of life? It is all wrapped in the flag with conflicting interpretations, and means different things to people other than white Americans.
If I were to put a word down, and I will, it would be recondite.
Respect is something earned, not assumed or qualified by some virtue that doesn't understand the difference domination molds into a conquered nation. There are changes in people's spirit stuck outside of human decency between taking and casting into oblivion ideals of purpose, commonality, right to life, and respect for life that changes conquering people from being respected to being feared. Terrorism is a technique employed during military aggressions in defense of nation, and the invasion of nations. If one doesn't understand the people defending themselves against aggressive forces as relatives how much respect does the invading force believe they deserve? What they do get is fear based, and that isn't fear. That is a cloak of deception with a plan to retaliate.
"This is why we stand up for the American flag." Respect? I am not a white man. That fact alone separates me from the vagueness of such a declaration because what they are doing to the Arab world they did to my Red and African ancestors. I am a grandson remembering my grandparent's stories of recovery.
The association of the American flag with irreconcilable differences in a person whose people were marked for extermination on one side of the family, and for eternal slavery on the other side of my family made the eight year old me go to my mother and tell her I had no intention of ever saluting the flag again! She smiled down at me and said, "That's OK, Gregory. I was 8 years old, too when I stopped saying the pledge!"
Gregory E. Woods, Keeper of Stories
November 25, 2016
|First Nations horse packers in the 1890’s working for Hudson Bay Co. as trappers, cooks, packers, guides, postal carriers. They were Stólo, Nlaka pamux, and Similkameen|
|former slaves at reunion in DC met Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, 921 N St. NW Lewis Martin, age 100, Martha Elizabeth Banks, age 104, Amy Ware, age 103. The man on the far right is Rev. Simon P. Drew, he was born free.|
French fighter jets dropped bombs on a Syrian hospital.
This baby was killed also. (June 2016)
|flag embracing a concept.|