I get it. I really do. I understand why a patriotic song would have a line suggesting that those who live here embrace their new heritage and let go of the old life.
But we don't really want to forget people we've met, even if they are only an acquaintance, even if we only met them briefly and have never seen them since.
The absolute most hilarious thing happened to me yesterday at work. I was waitressing, as normal, and a lovely family came in, a husband and wife with two little children. We chatted, I served them, and I went about my business. Lots of patriotic songs were playing on the radio, and I kept singing along.
As they were walking out the door, my manager said something to me, calling me by name. And the woman turned to me and said, "Tamara... did you ever go to Camp Noark?"
For a moment she absolutely floored me. Yes, I went to Camp Noark, a Girl Scout camp about an hour from where I live. I went every year from age 11 to 15. I said, "Yes, I went to Camp Noark."
She said, "I heard you singing and thought that was you. And then when he said your name, I thought to myself, 'That has to be her.'" She told me her name, and I wished so badly that I could remember her. And then she said, "I was there that year--you know, the year with John."
Memories flooded me, a dozen a second, and I pressed my hands to my mouth and shrieked, "Oh my word!" The year of John will live on in infamy in my mind. Girl Scout camp was always an amazing experience, with everything you need for one amazing summer. It's only lacking in one thing: boys.
As if that weren't enough to make it memorable, that summer John developed a crush on one of the campers: Me. Girl Scout camp is not supposed to be the place for relationships, but John took full advantage of all the giggling girls, using them as messengers for notes and friendship bracelets and who knows what else.
It was one of the funnest weeks of my adolescence.
Fast forward to yesterday. I had a total and complete flashback in that moment, fifteen years later. I'd forgotten all about John and that summer and all those girls I spent my time with. And I think that's a shame. I'm so glad she remembered me, that she took a moment to speak to me! May old acquaintances be remembered. Amen.