Chewing on this for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend…
I sit in the shade of the trees of the land I was born in.
As they are native I am native, and I hold to this place as
carefully as they hold to it.
I do not see the national flag flying from the staff of the sycamore,
or any decree of the government written on the leaves of the walnut,
nor has the elm bowed before any monuments or sworn the oath of allegiance.
They have not declared to whom they stand in welcome.
In the thought of you I imagine myself free of the weapons and
the official hates that I have borne on my back like a hump,
and in the thought of myself I imagine you free of weapons and
so that if we should meet we would not go by each other
looking at the ground like slaves sullen under their burdens,
but would stand clear in the gaze of each other.
There is no government so worthy as your son who fishes with
you in silence besides the forest pool.
There is no national glory so comely as your daughter whose
hands have learned a music and go their own way on the keys.
There is no national glory so comely as my daughter who
dances and sings and is the brightness of my house.
There is no government so worthy as my son who laughs, as he
comes up the path from the river in the evening, for joy.
Wendell Berry, TO A SIBERIAN WOODSMAN
Read the whole thing here.