Tradition & Innovation

Memorial Day

brown-skinned woman in american military uniform holding daughter smiling at each other
I am a veteran
And I see your shirt
That says because 
I am a liberal
You assume 
I am offended by
The Flag.
The Flag 
I raised at dawn
As a college student
In my uniform
Pressed the night before
Dress Blues
At 5 in the morning
Walking across campus
So I could salute it
In the dark
While you in your shirt
The Flag 
At boot camp
The sound of retreat
Blasting from speakers
My feet covered in blisters
Sunburned cheeks
From the Texas summer
And relief that I made it
Through another day
Of formation
Of discipline
Of oaths
Of belting out
“Oh say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave”
The Flag
And Constitution
I swore to protect
And defend
From enemies
And domestic
Right hand raised
2nd Lieutenant 
1st Lieutenant 
The Flag
Dusty in the orange storm 
Held up by concrete barricades
In the Iraqi summer
And fall
And winter
And spring
While my toddler
And infant
And husband
Learned to walk
First day of preschool
Learned to read
Potty trained
Without me
At home.
The Flag 
Given to me
Along with his ashes
By the Funeral Home Director
In his black suit
Folded perfectly
In a clear plastic case
To remind my children
That their father
Was a man 
Who served.
The Flag
With the face
Plastered across it
Carried into
The White Palace
We call The Capitol
The word
Covering the
The Flag
You claim offends me
You do not know
That Flag
Sacrificed for
Cried over

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