Even before the smoke had cleared I was stolen from another, my name changed by my captors. They used my body for their own benefit with no care or concern for my well-being. I was violated as a means to demonstrate their power. Each day I cried out as a new part of me died, but they didn’t understand my language. Either that, or they simply tuned me out. Even so, I wasn’t alone in my suffering. There were others even more helpless than I, being used and abused based solely on their outer appearance, as was my previous caregivers. I caught the red blood that seeped from their bruised midnight flesh as my own wounds bled black. Yes, those were heartrending times and we cried together in our helpless fear, anguish and anger. Just when we thought we’d break, change rode in on the back of time as swiftly as the comets in the sky above. I could feel it shower all over me, affecting all who touched me while cleansing the scars that will never completely heal.
Many decades had passed since then and though my age began to reveal itself in the cracks of my skin, my spirit never lost its vibrant color. Today, my name remains tattooed upon it. You are among the descendents of my captors and the reluctant inheritors of their legacy. I am proud to say that you evolved, abandoning many of their faulty ways. You had grown to embrace those they had wronged, including me. You declared your love for me. You vowed to stand beside me and guide me. In my honor, you vowed to live in accordance to a set of principles in which human values would be upheld after the decades of turmoil I witnessed firsthand. Yet, ignorance still lurks beneath the surface of many, creating violent lemmings that continue to plague me to this very day. Don’t you see? Your success is my success; your failure is my failure. I fear you have begun to relapse. Through your angry blindness and hatred, can you see me? How can you when you don’t see eye-to-eye with your brothers, sisters and neighbors? Open your eyes and witness the return of my deterioration. Do you see me? Do you remember my name? Do you remember what it means? Do you remember who I am? I am America!