Trigger Warning: My Typing Finger is Itchy

Memorial Day Field of Flags on Boston Common

I have been to Jamestown. I have been to Plymouth Rock.

I have been to Lexington and Concord. I have been to Independence Hall. I have been to Yorktown.

I have been to Fort Sumter. I have been to Gettysburg. I have been to Appomattox.

I have been to Ellis Island. I have been to the Statue of Liberty. I have been to the Golden Gate.

I have been to Fort McHenry, inspiration for the Star-Spangled Banner. I have been to purple mountain’s majesty and amber waves of grain.

I have been from California to the New York Islands, from the redwood forests to the Gulf stream waters.

I have been way down upon the Suwanee River. I have stood on a corner in Winslow Arizona. I have been somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of Dakota. I have seen the Berkshires dreamlike on account of that frosting. I have sent Greetings from Asbury Park.

I have been to Yosemite. I have been to Yellowstone. I have been to the Grand Canyon. I have been to Big Bend. I have been to the Everglades. I have been to Bar Harbor.

I have been to Pearl Harbor.

I have been to Tammany Hall. I have been to Carnegie Hall.

I have been to Wounded Knee. I have been to Mohegan Sun.

I have been to Black Wall Street in Durham, North Carolina. I have been to wealthy Wall Street in New York, New York.

I have been to Wall Drug. I have been to Wal-Mart.

I have been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago; the Kimbell and the Getty and the Broad; Crystal Bridges and Fallingwater.

I have been to the Museum of Magic, the Nutcracker Museum, the Russian Doll Museum. I have been to the Museum of Bad Art.

I have been to the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame, the Horseshoe Hall of Fame, and the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

I have been to every Presidential library.

I have been to the Utopian remnants of Hancock, Massachusetts and Oneida, New York; to Battle Creek, Michigan; and New Harmony, Indiana.

I have been to the company towns of Corning and Homestead; Hershey and Pullman.

I have been to Topeka, where separate was deemed unequal. I have been to Little Rock. I have been to Meridian.

I have been to Birmingham. I have been to Selma.

I have been to Watts. I have been to Newark. I have been to Detroit.

I have been to Los Angeles. I have been to Ferguson. I have been to Minneapolis.

I have been to migrant-festered fields in California. I have been to autonomously-trackered fields in Kansas. I have been to organic fields in Vermont.

I have been to copper mines. I have been to gypsum mines. I have been to strip mines.

I have been to millwork factories. I have been to candy factories. I have been to baseball bat factories. I have been to truck factories.

I have been to Fort Dix and Fort Bragg and Fort Pendleton.

I have been aboard the USS Constitution. I have been in an underground missile silo.

I have pedaled I-94. I have pedaled US 15. I have pedaled California 101.

I have stared, breathless, at the destruction of 9/11.

I have been to the Granary Burial Ground. I have been to Mount Auburn Cemetery. I have been to Bonaventure Cemetery. I have been to Arlington National Cemetery.

I have been to the Book Depository at Dallas. I have been to the tower at the University of Texas.

I have been to Littleton and Aurora. I have been to Las Vegas. I have been to Orlando. I have been to El Paso. I have been to Sandy Hook. I have been to Buffalo.

I have been to Uvalde.

On this Memorial Day, I am a well-travelled American, in despair for our nation.

United States citizens comprise 5% of the humans on this planet. Yet we lock up 20% of the world’s prisoners; we own a third of all private guns. More guns than people. Many more guns than people. Guns we use them to shoot ourselves, and our children. The correlation between access to guns and gun violence, whether measured among nations, among US states, within US localities; is clear direct, and indisputable. Yet, we do nothing.

I have a deep love for the founding principles of our nation. I am deeply ashamed of the nation we have become.

We have squandered the opportunity of equity for all. We vote into office politicians who pedal fear and division, whether through jingoistic heart-thumping or slivering us into narrow identities. It is so much easier to call out difference than celebrate commonality; to tear down rather than build up; to divide rather than unite.

We know what we have to do. We have to rededicate our shared ideals over individual pursuit. We have to take care of each other. All of us, caring for all of us.

One first step is to deny eighteen-year-old troubled boys’ access to AK-15’s. But that is mere preamble to creating a world where eighteen-year-old boys feel valued and loved within their community, so they don’t even contemplate rogue destruction.

We also have to love our children enough to protect them from danger. Which means we have to love them more than we love guns. We have to love them more than the profits that guns derive.

On this day of national mourning and remembrance, I have no confidence that we’ll do what needs to be done. What progress do we have to show in the decade since twenty innocent children were gunned down at Sandy Hook? We have Uvalde.

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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