A member of the 2010 4th of July parade, Onancock, VA
We do live in the perfectly realized snatch of America here on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It's a lovely town especially in the summer. Just what you would expect: rural small town, hot, sunny, leafy, and profoundly American. Independence Day celebrations were in keeping with such ambiance, such bone deep instincts about where we came from and who we are. Where we are going seems to be the question these days, with pundits Left and Right decrying the nations guiding stars. Oil leaks, recession, and war, yeah, maybe, but we still have this haven of peace into which we can stick our heads and pretend we are invisible.
For one day, then, this was the scene: People coming together as a community, neighbors, young and old, celebrating whatever it is is their minds it was time to celebrate. The weather was more than perfect, the ice cream soft and luscious, the patriotic band appropriately screechy. But where was the mayor and his speech?
I love to Google quotations. Here are some appropriate for this time of year.
Can anything be stupider than that a man has the right to kill me because he lives on the other side of a river and his ruler has a quarrel with mine, though I have not quarrelled with him? Blaise Pascal
Each nation feels superior to other nations. That breeds patriotism - and wars. Dale Carnegie
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them! Albert Einstein
I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world. Diogenes
I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism. Bob Riley
I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world. Eugene V. Debs
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. James A. Baldwin
I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. Nathan Hale