We drove through the city this weekend. And we caught it all in process. Flags going up. Hanging from the overpasses that span the highways. Covering rows and rows of windows on tall buildings. Flying from tall flagpoles.
My girl counted each one. Just recently she began to recognize the flag. She calls out its colors. White, blue, red. And I like how she doesn’t say them in order just yet. Who says red always has to come first?
She didn’t ask why there were so many. She just marveled at how many she saw and how many she could count. I talked about patriotism. To the degree that an almost four-year-old can understand. Which is about the degree to which I can understand it, too. I love my country and the amazing opportunity and life and everything that it affords me. But at an early age, I could see the faults. I want us to be better. I want us to learn. I want us to strive for that perfect ideal and do right by people and do right for people. I want us to be self aware enough to know that sometimes we suck at that. But sometimes we soar. And that’s patriotism too. Just of a different kind.
She’ll come to that on her own, someday. Or maybe she won’t. Her patriotism might very well look different from mine. White, blue, and red.
We’ll get to that. There is time for her to learn why the flags begin to fly in overwhelming numbers on September 8th and 9th and 10th. And 11th. There is time for her to understand what it means. And what it means to her.
In the meantime, we lost count somewhere in the teens this weekend. But we still called out each and every one we saw. Each and every white, blue, and red.