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Readers Respond

Sailabration: An anti-war anthem

Baltimore saved the nation? Come on!

The British were depleted and simply retreated.

The fire went out of their belly.

Like in all wars — there were no winners,

only folks tired of the pandemonium,

the burst cannons, the bombarded forts,

the burned towns, the bullied helpless,

so many men dead for nothing,

cousins versus cousins,

as usual — an extended family quarrel —

extended beyond recognition as legend,

with heroes all on our side,

villains all on theirs,

righteousness ours,

wickedness theirs,

valor ours,

cowardice theirs,

triumph ours,

defeat theirs,

and so on and so forth a new tapestry —

woven from tattered memories,

over centuries a brocade of lies

handed down from mouth to mouth

made resplendent by the vote seekers

and the demagogues,

then sold to history

as a glorious event worthy

of commemoration.

Therefore a Sailabration!

A harbor immersed in silt

dredged by a city

immersed in debt

and both emerge

shining from head to foot

in borrowed feathers — the city,

on borrowed time — the harbor,

for the tall ships

to cavort in

and declare the maritime past

that caused

the demise of the enemy

is just as alive

as two hundred years ago

when the land of the brave

from sea to shining sea

distilled in Baltimore

and resisted the onslaught

of a despotic parent

who could not let go.

I scoff at this foolishness —

this waste of resources —

on a Sailabration

that we could do without —

the second birth of a nation —

like the second taking of marriage vows —

sentimental slop —

for the romantic at heart to slurp up —

I say, "I will not participate —

in the nonsense — I will not go,"

Then I close my eyes

and visualize the TALL SHIPS —

those wonders of the sea —

that vindicate men for all the harm —

they have done this world.

So many of those ships together —

their lungs inflated

by the salty breath of the Bay —

making sea talk as they pause —

their piratical splendor on display —

I am weak for the Tall Ships —

their length—their strength —

their captains in gleaming white —

conversations about where they've been —

where they are headed —

what they've seen —

I am completely captivated

by the arrangement of their sails —

and the symmetry of their exterior —

So if I said, "I will not participate —

I will not go,"

I take it back.

If the city conducts a symphony of Tall Ships

into the harbor —

I will bring my own baton and harmonize —

I swear —

even though the whole affair —

will be unadulterated, self indulgent nonsense —

I'll be there —

because I am weak for the Tall Ships.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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