Nation: Gathering in Praise of America

IT was a festival of flags and fireworks, of fun and fundamental verities —an effort to rise above the divided present by a conscious return to the litanies and liturgy of the American past. By the thousands, Americans responded to the invitation to an old-fashioned U.S. birthday, trooping to the center of Washington carrying their miniature Old Glorys and their campstools, their sandwiches and their thermos bottles. They gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial, where so many others have assembled in protest, to bear witness that it was their country too, a...

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