I spent most of the day, the Fourth of July, thinking about cemeteries, the past, America in the rear-view mirror. I thought about all our dead buried in Europe and the Pacific, at Arlington, in small towns and big cities here, their lives, service and sacrifice; a rather quiet, anonymous reminder of who and what our wounded country delivered to the world as a gift called liberty.
I thought about a wall in Washington, D.C. and a museum at the southern tip of Manhattan. I thought about all the firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, EMTs and the thousands of victims claimed by a virus that arrived like a strangler’s hand as our government slept and too many of our elected leaders quarreled but failed to lead, failed at the simple task of delivering a truth, a warning, while that virus stalks us with a ferocious and obvious appetite.
I thought about the one word—United—and the phrase, “We’re All In This Together,” and I recognize both today as a sad lie. We are neither united nor together. That’s the reality of this July 4.