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Friday, August 29, 2014

When I Was 25...

"Our capacity for justice makes democracy possible and our capacity for injustice makes democracy necessary": Reinhold Niebuhr

Beginning with when I finished "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand and "Big Russ and Me" by Tim Russert back to back in 2011, and continuing after watching an excellent HBO film called "Taking Chance" about a year later, my lifelong resistance to calling myself patriotic has been slowly dissipating. While recently reading "Where We Stand: 30 Reasons For Loving Our Country" (2002) by Roger Rosenblatt - which included the amazing quote above - I found myself unexpectedly choking up several times as this talented essayist makes his compelling case.

There wasn't much in this brief volume I didn't like but the pieces Rosenblatt wrote about 9/11 really stopped me cold. Reading those essays in this book brought me right back to a NY Times series that ran each Sunday for months following our national horror that described the "ordinary" lives cut short on that awful day. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Rosenblatt, who wrote for the Times for years, was involved in that series; the 9/11 pieces in his book pack an equivalent punch.

Though not planning to display an American flag this Monday (or anytime soon), with respect to patriotism, the Pat of 2014 is a slightly different version from the Pat of 2011 and a dramatically different version than the Pat of 1974.  In what domain of your life are you noticeably different than three or ten or forty years ago?

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