- Victor Hugo, Preface to the Italian translation of "Les Miserables," 1862
And so we come once again to the most ambivalent of holidays, the one that honors the fallen dead and the one that serves as a USA! USA! hockey chant for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
God bless the fallen dead. God bless all the fallen dead.
Every year - actually several times each year, on the Sundays closest to Memorial Day, The Fourth of July, and Veterans Day - my church breaks out this old chestnut, still a profound antidote to the strangling miasma of nationalism mixed with the so-called Kingdom of God, which will always be a fatal disease of the soul.
And every year - all three times each year, actually - I am thankful for the witness of the old words, and thankful that God so loved the world. That's John 3:16. You used to find those words on posters at football and hockey games. Not so much anymore.
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is,
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.