My daughter sat pouting, fighting back tears, "No!" She insisted.
Exhausted and at a loss, I silently prayed for direction.
Today being Patriot Day, Julia's school expected her to wear red, white and blue, and ordinarily she is the most patriotic kid I know. She has memorized various facts about all the presidents in US history of her own volition and knows that subject far better than I do. But her late Mexican great grandmother's birthday is also September 11th and Julia insisted on wearing a bright orange Mexican style dress in honor of her abuelita. The problem arose when we found a massive tear in the skirt and it was time to leave for school. The dress proved unwearable and the clock was ticking. I couldn't prevail on her to change clothes and run out the door. Upon my silent prayer, the answer immediately came.
Rushing to my room I retrieved my sewing basket, pulled out some thread, got the dress off my daughter and feverishly started stitching up the skirt. It wouldn't be sewn perfectly for lack of time but so be it. At least it was modest. Julia told me I was the best mom ever and danced happily off to school, at which place she miraculously arrived before class began.
At first I thought that this illustrated a lack of American spirit but upon reflection, I think her behavior embodied it. Are we not a country built upon independent thinkers? Were our Founding Parents not those who followed their hearts rather than the crowd? And though they loved their native Great Britain, did they not think first of the good of their families and homes? As to September 11th, one plane gratefully did not meet its planned destination because of people who would not be cowed by intimidation. We find our country in all its glory built upon the backs of resolute people who followed what they believed. I remember Julia standing at her great grandmother's deathbed and speaking in her very best broken Spanish. Are we not a country that has risen to its greatness in part because of our compassion on human souls? And inasmuch as her great grandmother died some years ago my little Julia follows with all the passion of her loving heart the ultimate message of Patriot Day - to never, ever forget.