by James P. Wagner (Ishwa)
“The people in our government can really suck sometimes.
But this is still the best country in the world.”
This was something I remember
my grandpa saying, more than once.
I remember my grandpa...
he was short of stature
an Italian food loving
he liked the simple things in life
betting on horses
bringing me little ice-cream cups
and playing toy soldiers with me
when I was young.
“Grandpa, tell me another war story,” I said sometimes
eager to hear more about his exciting tales from WW II
the one about the drill sergeant who pronounced his name wrong
the one about really big guy who fainted
when he got a really small needle
or about his 23 missions flown in the air force
that he flew after transferring out of a tank division
on the ground
that was wiped out, a month later.
Of course, I was too young then to know
he was shot down over occupied France
that he had to hide in a barn
in enemy territory
and too young to imagine
how hard that journey must have been.
I remember that grandpa
would always recite the Pledge
always remove his hat during the National anthem
always salute whenever he'd pass the American flag.
“Never forget what the flag stands for,” he told me.
“What does it stand for?” I asked.
“The chance for a good life.”
And one time
in one of his rare
strictly serious moments
he said to me:
“If we hadn't won that war, this world today,
would not be a place worth living in.”
And I think that history would agree with him.
And when I see the anger
the sarcastic remarks about America
all over the place today
I always remember my grandpa
and wonder what he might say.
I imagine, he'd say the same thing.
“The people in our government can really suck sometimes,
but this is still the best country in the world.”
Or my own interpretation of what he said
We might not always reach the ideal our forefathers set for us
but the ideal is there,
for us to strive for
and that's the important thing.
what it always was
the perfect idea
by imperfect people.