By C.F. Harrienger Jr.
Your recent query about the Pledge of Allegiance brought to mind an early admission into the VA Hospital, where I was admitted to a stress unit. My first morning on the unit, this Nurse Ratched type started our day with a community meeting.
She had us all stand, and recite the pledge of allegiance to open this meeting. It felt surreal like something out of Arlo Guthrie "you got a lot of damn gall asking me to pledge my allegiance" (sorry Arlo) but as my complaint formed in my throat I turned around and witnessed the entire assembly of patients, standing tall, as sick as we were, and reciting at attention. The expressions of honor and pride were evident in every man's face. It didn't matter so much the slight, it mattered more, as an opportunity to express our pride, our united purpose, our United States.
I wrote this poem during that admission, a private moment, whistlin' out the window, at the object or rather, the subject in question.