I remember how misty we all got in high school when we sang our country’s patriotic hymns and the National Anthem. I was a Fort Collins High School Lambkin “booster” with a pull-over sweater and short skirt striped in purple and gold, and I had pompoms that when not in use would grace the mirror of my dresser. I was all about the team, God and country back then. Being an American woman was a part of my sense of personal destiny.
I got misty this morning over beautiful America for the first time in years. I live in one of the most beautiful regions of our country–the Rocky Mountains– in Northern Colorado, an area termed as the “Front Range”, meaning the prairie that rolls away to the border from the nearest tier. On my way in and out of town, only two miles from the historic center, I can see gorgeous Long’s Peak, her diamond facets– always a heart-stopping sight.
Today, a short while ago, I got misty again when I watched Discovery land live on MSNBC. It was enthralling to watch and hear live video from the cockpit, and to bear witness to a text book landing of the mother ship, the foremost shuttle on her last run.
Suddenly for a moment I was proud to be an American again and I didn’t think of our occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, nor our predecessor shames of Viet Nam and the singularly hard to imagine or remember, our dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Japan. What a sight to behold: the glorious silver eagle, her parachute tail-feathers breaking her glide over the tarmac.
Abruptly, the news of how we might take to the air over Libya resumed. There is fresh news that Gaddafy is bombing insurgent strongholds, pinning the people in. He rages on, on state television from Tripoli– all of this in a language incomprehensible to most of us.
I have not taken the part of Muslims very often on my blog, because I have defended our right to be wounded in the wake of 9-11 and the right to be wary. But all over the Middle East people are crying out for freedom.
America has always responded to that cry– imperfectly and often in the face of condemnation by many nations. At this moment Obama is meeting with the Joint Chiefs to explore our options.
I have always descried the role of this country as intervenor, especially in the Bush years. But I believe that when people are being slaughtered anywhere, we need to step up– not to protect our oil interests, but to serve as liberators. Call me naive, but I believe in those distinctions.
This was our role in the German occupation of France; it is why so many of our own died at Normandy and all over Europe. Other countries settle back on their haunches and turn a blind eye. We are unable to, for good or ill.
Good-bye, beauteous sky-farer, Discovery. Thank you to the courageous Americans who have braved the frontiers of the ether, those who will fall today in Afghanistan for their principles and a tenuous and often untenable purpose, and those who may take to the air on behalf of the oppressed, for all of us.