25 May 2015

Star-Spangled Heart

I have a card from the Selective Service asking me to confirm whether I am, in fact, a girl, as according to their records, I am.  I tried to register because bellicose big sisters should be able to sign up instead of their artist little brothers.

I remember, working at a summer camp, crawling on my elbows through the tall grass to cross enemy lines during a game of capture the flag.  Or burrowing into a thicket of vines, and under a pile of leaves, as campers searched the campus hoping to gain 150 points by finding "the girl lifeguard."  Or earning the nickname "Baby Seal" after performing after dark maneuvers, in snake-infested waters, to recover the trampoline, which should have been taken in long before.  ("Baby" for forgetting it in the first place, and "Seal" for retrieving it under cover of darkness.)

I tried to enlist in the Navy twice during the recent wars, but was rejected, more or less, for being, in the parlance of my sister, "wimpy."

I have long been proud of the service of family and friends.  And I have made peace with my lot to stay home.  On Memorial Day, as we remember the sacrifices of our countrywomen and countrymen, I can't think of a better memorial than to endeavor to build a nation and a world worthy of their sacrifice, and to guard their children and their children's children from similar sacrifice.  For ultimately, success will not be measured in the hegemony of star-spangled hearts, but in the fellowship of all human hearts, in the breaking of bread, on a Memorial Day in the not too distant future, when we can remember together war as a thing of the past.  Perhaps this is a naive dream, but it is a beautiful dream, which I shall continue to dream.  For home is where the heart is, and my star-spangled heart is at home with humankind.


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