Fourth of July . . . Prompt #84

July 4th is coming up. . . . what does this mean to you? Do you consider yourself patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

Which reminds me of one of my all-time favorite “brain teasers.”

Fourth of JulyDo they have fourth of July in England?



Yes. . .and third of July and fifth of July.

Writing Prompt:  What does July Fourth mean to you?

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  1. Ke11y

    Regardless of what birthright inspires in you, the patriot will do his best to understand his countrymen, and, in the happy circumstances of being born a Brit and choosing to reside in the United States, I see my new patriotic role to first become a citizen. In doing so I will have a voice to join with others to bring about change to what I see as a defective education system, a poor training environment, insufficient affordable housing, neglected cultures, loose discipline and honest accountability. All this said, I have never felt more free, or happier any place in the world. The greatest compliment I can pay to the Unites States is the immigration problem. It tells its own story.
    The Unites States is still a truly young country, and it does what any petulant teenager will do; stamp its feet and demand its own way.
    There is enough to be done, God knows; and worth doing, that is certain; and able to be done, that is demonstrable. The saddest kind of patriot is one without hope, or reward. Our government’s hands should not only be clean, but beyond suspicion. All I know for sure is that there is seldom progress without some nightmare chaos. But doesn’t the American history prove abundantly the wise labors of selfless pioneers and Presidents have borne fruit?

    1. mcullen Post author

      You have given us food for thought and something to chew on, Kelly. I appreciate hearing your perspective. Thanks for posting your thought-provoking ideas!

  2. Eva Gretta Cooper

    The word patriotic conjures in my mind the very essence of a personal identity that ties one to a specific group. It means to me to be loyal to an ideal that such group represents.
    When I left Czechoslovakia, the home of my birth, the United States of America represented an ideal that spoke of freedom in the sense larger than I was able to comprehend then. The larger still, today. I am even more patriotic today than when I landed at the Chicago O’Hare Airport, my pilgrim refugee flight destination, on Thanksgiving Day 1972.
    My loyalty to the country that granted me an asylum remains. What expanded from that gratitude grew into a much deeper sense of who I am. As my life unfolded, I learned how to face challenges, straight on. I keep going, each day facing handicaps of being born in the former communist country. My loyalty expanded beyond the horizon of “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
    The Czech national anthem begins with a question, a deep yearning of “where is my home,” and then sings about the beauty of nature. Yes, that is my home, my first nest. When I left, I lost my birthright. The painful trade-offs I had to make then. In o’er the land I learned to speak a new language. I learned anew how to walk the talk. To know the truth that unshackles. To become free.
    By the granted right of a new citizenship, I staked the homestead in Petaluma, California, and claimed it as my home of the brave.
    Last night, I composed a (yet another) plea for help. This time, addressed to a local retired journalist. I felt inept, lost for words. What do I say now? We met a long time ago, when I was in the prime of my investigative career. On that lonely night, it hit me how out of place I am, again.
    The homeland is a strange territory. When I visit, it reminds me of a movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
    In Europe, when I talk about American freedom and other cherished principles, I feel like a flying clay saucer. The one that hunters practice on, to shoot the wild flying geese. Most Czechs laugh at me today, shaking their heads at my naiveté. They know better. Check the reality.
    My heart weeps, reckoning with the gap between what I, as an American, say I believe, and what I actually do, when I lack the strength and courage for today, when tired and exhausted, to do anything.
    My heart weeps, reckoning with the gaps between what I, as a Czech, or a Moravian, or an American, keep trying to do, and failing at, to accomplish. To bring the Truth to Light. To Right the Wrongs. To Undo Harm caused by the State powers. Somehow, to bring the justice for orphans by filing petitions, pleading our case to the Courts of Law. To act right, today.
    Can all, that my mind, my heart, and my body muster, undo injustice heaped upon my family tribe? So far, I hear only the resounding silence. I pray for JUSTICE to make its move.
    I watch its scales.
    Can bravery alone stand up against the totality of injustice heaped upon humanity, by one patriotic group upon another?
    Humanity, Truth, and Justice seem to be lost in the waging of (yet another) war.

    Eva Gretta Cooper
    Poetry, Fiber Arts, and other Translations
    Transcribed from the author’s free-write scribbled during Marlene Cullen’s Jumpstart Writing class on July 1, 2014.
    Eva Gretta Cooper is a “retired” federal investigator, who dares to pursue a just satisfaction through the European judicial system, on behalf of orphans in her family.
    In May 2014, Cooper, et. al, v. The Czech Republic reached the ECHR in Strasbourg, France.

    1. mcullen Post author

      Oh, Eva. . . your writing leaves me breathless. Thank you for your honesty, your poignancy and your dedication. I love how genuine and authentic you are. . . true to yourself, your values and your beliefs. Carry on!

    2. Kathy Myers

      Eva; This piece proves you are not lost for words. You speak of the terrible injustice and frustration of living under communism, but you intersperse your sentences with familiar patriotic words or phrases: land of the free, scales of justice, loyalty, freedom, bravery. It articulates the contrast between liberty and tyranny, and serves to remind us of what needs to be protected. The analogy of feeling like a clay pigeon when being targeted for ridicule is especially powerful (I may borrow that one some day). My brief experience in Soviet Russia felt less like “cuckoo’s nest” and more like through the looking glass—superficially normal but just wrong somehow- backwards and awkward, upside down. The system was like Humpty Dumpty on toothpick legs- sure to topple from it’s own weight eventually.
      You fight a good fight, and write a good write, to heal a great wrong.

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