Proud – Really?

三島 和希
Kazuki Mishima

The ribbon-shaped magnet on the bumper of the abandoned SUV was white and unmarked, but I knew that it had once been yellow and had born the slogan "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" in confident block letters. The magnet had been painted at a time when we believed it didn't need to last long, but had faded long before the war ever would.

A recent newspaper left in the driver's seat tells of explosions in far-away mosques and soldiers abducted as they drove alone down long, dusty roads. A bumper sticker reads "SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 – WE WILL NEVER FORGET," and perhaps it's true, but I want to forget. I want to forget waking to falling buildings on a television screen, and strong people crying.

There's a part of me that wants Iraquization, and there's a part of me that's ashamed of that desire.

The bold sentiment of "For What It's Worth" is heard mainly on the oldies stations, and more current music reveals the truth: we're just waiting on the world to change.

An image of the Stars and Stripes on the front bumper is captioned "THESE COLORS DON'T RUN." The flag itself, however, tells a different story. The stars are barely visible, the stripes hardly distinguishable.

Looking around, I find little hope in the battered, dirty flags on delapidated porches.

You said that you were proud to be an American, but I'm not convinced. Did you really mean it?