“…of the United States…”
by Kay Morris
Four simple words full of meaning and memories, thoughts and emotions: Of The United States.
As a child in the segregated south those words were stated daily as we stood, hand over heart, and recited The Pledge of Allegiance to a flag with 48 stars. In those days we studied the meaning of the pledge. While those teachings have escaped my conscious memory they are no doubt a part of my belief system. Things were simple then, each star represented one of the states that were a part of the United States. Of The United States meant being a member of a country that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico.
As I aged and the United States grew I observed that being a member of the United States meant classmates who lost their lives on foreign soils. The United States meant burning crosses, riots and battles in larger cities. The United States meant following written and implied rules determined by others. The United States also meant the right to disagree with those rules and the freedom to battle injustice and discrimination toward others who were also members of the United States.
Today I am an older, retired member of the United States. The United States means Social Security and Medicare, the ability to travel and view the differences between each of the states and other countries too. The United States, while not united by location, color, ethnicities, religion nor core beliefs, means the freedom to discuss, debate, educate, and interact with diverse people who are also members of the United States. Though much has changed through these years, being a member of the United States still fills me with pride.
Kay Morris is a retired RN and a perpetually 26 year old Queen trapped in the body of her grandmother. She currently lolls about in Central Arkansas wondering how her children became older than she. Suffering from the Peter Pan syndrome she vows to never grow up and to always be particular.