More questions, two years later in September

How do we teach our children to love this land we grew to know?
How do we tell them we are blessed when others are not so?
How do we share “rockets’ red glare” did not mean a shuttle-full
of moms and dads and teachers too who’d never come back home?
How can we send them off to school on bikes or tennis shoes,
when every week we read of those who steal our kids away?
It should not take a Tuesday when we watch our towers fall,
or children in a high school who shoot others in the hall….
How do we teach our children that it’s safest to be free,
when corners filled with hungry ones hold signs, “Will work for food?”
I have to wonder when they last enjoyed a perfect meal, and why
when I drive by I try my best to miss their eyes?
And I am just one mother in this land of so much chance,
But why do we have food and sheets and clothes that are so clean
while others cannot find a bed, a job, a suit, or reason to be seen?

How do we teach our children to be patriots like we?
When terror lurks behind each flight, each school, and every tree?
I want my child to hear the call, to see the majesty
of mountains purple, skies of blue, and oceans white with foam….
We need back Thomas Jefferson to give us words so wise,
to show us how each one of us has gifts that others prize….
We need a leader we can trust, who gets strength from above
and people who can teach our kids with purpose and with love.

How do we teach our children to grow up and stand there proud,
when even athletes on the fields don’t know when to salute? When we hear our nation’s anthem, or pledge allegiance to our flag, our hands should be upon our hearts,
history’s million pulses beating there.
I know I feel as others with eyes wet and throat so tight
when I hear songs of liberty, of justice, and of might.
My childhood taught me there were those who died that I might live,
but never did I dream it could be my child whose life I’d give…..

I thought I had a guarantee of freedom, home, and peace.
I never knew I’d know such pain and see so many lost
for reasons unbeknown to us who live and can’t conceive
of debts that number trillions when we can’t see what we’ve bought.
A car sits in my garage right now, and I can’t seem to pay
the bills that go along with it, but I can drive each day….

How do we teach our children to grow up and still believe?
How can they know God blessed our land
when other nations starve? Were Africa and Palestine
not given such a plan? Were Kosovo, the Gaza strip, and China left behind? Were they to die and waste away while as a nation we fight obesity?

Perhaps the world has not made sense to generations past,
but life just seemed much simpler when I laid in the grass
and looked at clouds up overhead, and dreamed of days to come.
I knew I could be anything in this great land I loved.
Judith Ann Hillard
September 22, 2003