In honor of Memorial Day , I’m reposting my husband’s wonderful poem.
The time was when the mere sight of you
With your white stars on field of blue
And your thirteen stripes of red and white
Would make men stand tall and do what’s right.
Brave men have bled and died to win you a place
On a thousand hills, to bring freedom to every race
You inspired many a heart to burst forth in song
As you marked the triumph of right over wrong.
As I bring you down from your place of display
While the sun is setting on still another day
Things seem different now than they were then
Few will stand and be counted as your friend.
You have been torn, desecrated, and even burned
By those who for freedom have never yearned
They take their freedom for granted every day
They say, “No one could possibly take it away.”
Can we not see you for what you really are?
You represent not what we have, but what we are.
You are not a piece of cloth hanging on a pole.
You represent our people, spirit, body and soul.
You now have no glory of your own to see.
Nor have you ever had, it seems to me.
You are but a mirror reflecting the pride
The people of the nation possess inside.
If we cannot look on you and feel the pride,
Maybe it’s time we took a good look inside.
To make sure we are the best that we can be and that we live as if we deserve to be free.
Then as we look on you, your glory to behold.
We will not see a glory from days of old
But a reflection of ourselves is what we’ll see
Doing right, living as if we deserve to be free.
Gary Mellick 1992