Though I was very young when World War II ended, I remember the “block parties” where every family came into the street and people hugged and screamed sounds of great joy and pride! After all, we were Americans! We were in America! The land of the free, the home of the brave!
Even though my family was poor, I never felt poor. Our 4-room apartment was clean and pretty. The street was the playground for us kids, and everyone felt safe playing outside.
Our fathers worked hard and most mothers stayed at home, happy to care for their children and their modest apartments. We were all encouraged to get the best education we could, because as children of immigrants, “anything was possible in America if you had a good education.”
Can we say that now … even to our recent college graduates? With today’s economy being what it is, with no people – except perhaps the very wealthy – feeling safe about their savings or their jobs, do our citizens truly feel proud to be American and feel that they do, in fact, live in a country where they feel safe, a country that does represent the land of the free, the home of the brave?
While I remain proud to be an American and there are few other countries in which I’d prefer to live, I say that knowing that there are few places in the world which are safe and/or truly thriving. Wars exists on every continent. Governments are falling, threatened or threatening, and few nations know who is an ally and who may be tomorrow’s enemy. I do not buy into the theory that we have always had wars, always had economic hard times, and these days are no different. They are most assuredly different to my way of thinking, because never before did we live in an age of the internet, where in the wrong hands information and nuclear weaponry are easily available to religious fundamentalists whose suicide bombings are accomplished with twisted thinking and an indifference to the murderous trail they leave behind.
My grandson who’s 7½ and granddaughter who’s 2½ are still young enough to feel care-free and unaware of the war(s) or 9/11 or the economic terror that most Americans are feeling these days. But, the more important question is, what sort of world are we, their grandparents, leaving them? At this point in time, it’s surely not a better place than we were born into. And do I worry about my grown children and grandchildren? You bet!
I will not write about my personal political position here on this blog, because I do not believe this is the proper forum in which to rant. I will, though, pray that we all live to see a better, stronger America, one that is respected around the world, one that can once again thrive, and one that attracts politicians for all the right reasons – an America which is able to offer equal opportunities to all who wish to work hard and live well, and above all one that is safe not only for our children but for all people of all ages, races and religions.
I’d like to believe that I’m not hoping for too much or for what may be impossible.
After all, I do remember a different America, one which I find myself yearning for more than ever!