crossing the border: Home for Christmas 2001 (U. S. A.)


December 24-31, 2001

The American flags hanging everywhere warrant making note that this is a different place than when I left it. I didn't understand the new emotion here by being away for the past few months, but just halfway across the parking lot I could tell this nation had been touched. The bittersweet taste will linger on that gives my generation the reason to wave the flag and tattoo bald eagles on our forearms.

It was good also to introduce Ritsuko to my family, my friends, my America. This time was well spent, but all too short making saying good-bye sting hard with a tear while looking out the window at our plane. New Year's in the UK passed, then we boarded for an un- eventful flight, though we had our choice of seats.

I'm now back in London with a new homemade scarf, toed socks, Hemingway books and a cold. See flashback: Bruges, Belgium for the paragraph that articulated my closing thought so well, I asked for a Hemingway this year. Cracking the foreword to A Moveable Feast, I discover it was completed over 25 years after the notes were taken in Paris. This must be why my high school English teacher told me to keep a journal.


follow up notes from a friend

Dan-

I am glad you reflected on the renewed patriotism in your letter. I wish you were here to experience it. It was overwhelming. I haven't thought of putting it into words until I read your entry. It was spontaneous. There wasn't a flag to be had. Anything red, white, and blue would do. Ribbons or whatever. For me it was as though everyone suddenly understood why our grandparents insisted on flying flags and how significant the pledge of allegiance really is. These things had suddenly become un-corny and were somehow now very important. Not just something to be said every morning before class. As soon as hours afterwards, everyone talked of Pearl Harbor. Seeing that movie(the newest release) at Christians house, about a month later, was overwhelming. I found myself willing to go to war for my country. A feeling I never thought possible for myself, and the shock that came from having that feeling, that willingness. Just me flying an American flag in my window. I think that sums it up.

I forgot about the change. I am grateful for your mentioning it, for it is something that has become all too familiar. Thank you

I am eager to hear more of the change that you noticed. Please.-- Peter


countries list