"No taxation without representation."
Pah! Some excuse....
National holidays always fit uncomfortably in my mind, mostly because that is the time when to celebrate, nationally, we pull out patriotism as the equivalent of militarism...and I just can't/won't go there.
And, the knowledge of my own family history gives it an extra edge. One part of my family, the Stones --fought bravely in the American Revolution. Another part of my family, the Whitmans (the Wightmans of Rhode Island, Dutch settlers kicked out of Long Island in the 1640s by the English--not to be confused with the Whitmans of MA) actually overcame their historic animosity to the English and fought for the crown. Royalists. My ancestor Wightman, at the end of the war, fled to Nova Scotia and left behind his wife and 13 children. The State of Rhode Island seized the property (several hundred acres) and after a protracted court battle let her keep a widow's portion.... But don't feel too sorry for her; the estate had not been built because Wightman was a farmer--he was, in part, a shaker and mover of the slave trading operations based in Rhode Island.
So, rebels and royalists....which side shall I honor?
An extra edge.... Once, at my Grandmother Hambly's urging (she was a Cheever of MA), I went to a D.A.R. meeting. Dear Grandma so wanted me to join, and I was eligible. I have never been so horrified in my life (--well, a Grange meeting in NW Connecticut once gave me a similar feeling) --I sat through most of the meeting looking for escape routes, and wondering if I did make a bolt for the window, how much it would hurt to crash through the glass on my way out. Instead of a great escape, my soul retracted to somewhere in my throat, stuffing the rising words back down my gullet with the fried chicken and jello they so kindly offered. I was horrified, because there was no color--no recognition of the suffering our nation has caused/created in their patriotic pallet. Just red, white and blue.
I think our Prayers for National Life, found on page 838 of our BCP are a fairly balanced offering to God. Go read them.
And, did you know that many clergy here in Virginia suffered terribly because an oath to the crown was part of their ordination vows...? Many were perceived as Royalists because they could not find it in their hearts to break their ordination vows.... not that they were loyal to the throne at all.
And that our own historic BCP (all of 'em) held no prayers for the nation, no lectionary for the 4th of July until the 1979 version!! --so deep was the trauma.
This past fall we welcomed the Queen to Virginia, showed her the little buildings Jefferson built, showed her where we concocted our plans to throw off the shackles of government by which we were taxed and through which we had no representation.... took her around in a horse drawn carriage that was made of humble local materials. My beloved Joel worried me a bit. He really wanted to go and stand in the crowd, get the Queen's attention and offer her asylum--offer her true freedom from an oppressive government. You know, be free, like us! I mean, he was sincerely interested as she is his first cousin (sixteen times removed). I was afraid he was going to get shot, or arrested--and then maybe he might get taken to Gitmo for all else that would fly ironic from his mouth.
Ah, yes. Guantanamo Bay.... another thing to be proud of on this day.
Heavenly Father, have mercy on us. Amen.