American Dreams This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Scattered around me are bodies, the bodies of soldiers, of my dead friends. The earth has been stained a deep red with their blood. Often, I hear a dying man calling for his mother, but the cries always end soon after they begin. Exhausted, I collapse on the ground among the dead. The war seems endless. Has it been months, years or centuries since it began? In the distance, I see an American flag and I suddenly feel like tearing it apart.

Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light... How many times have I sung these words without even a thought as to what they mean? These words used to fill me with strength, courage, pride. But now, why should I feel pride? Should I be proud of a country that believes that peace can only be achieved through warfare? Should I love this country that kills innocent soldiers? That sends her own men and women to their deaths?

The bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there... Is that what this country symbolizes? Is that what our forefathers envisioned for the ideal America? Bombs? And why are these bombs proof that our flag still exists? Does that mean that our country will cease to exist if the war stops?

And so I lie here thinking, wondering. I love this country, yet I cannot always support its actions. If only America could be as it should: a country of freedom, a country of equality, a country of peace.n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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