Not standing when Star-Spangled Banner played by Milwaukee Symphony outdoors in Marcus Amphitheater, near Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee before the Beethoven’s Ninth Concert, Everyone else standing, everyone else singing, Putting my head in one hand as it plays so heroic, Thinking of all the Iraqi dead, the dead men murdered by our soldiers as they retreated, Thinking of Vietnam, My Lai, Wounded Knee, Dresden, Nagasaki, Thinking back to Washington Park 20 years ago Vietnam War era one summer eve the Star-Spangled Banner played before Pagliacci and not standing then, everyone standing, not singing then, everyone singing, Remembering the hateful threats and curses whispered behind me. Now no curses or threats, only singing sadly and sweetly mothers and fathers whose voices seem soft-spoken and sorrowful too as if they think me Vietnam Veteran remembering his bestfriend killed there and remember their bestfriend killed in World War II or Korea, No tone of defiant patriotism to my ears, No growl of rage in the melody, Only a sound of many melancholy voices trying to sound cheerful, hopeful, trying to believe we still are the great nation we were taught we were and thought we were in gradeschool, No tone of hate or scorn — as if they understand why I will never stand for the Star-Spangled Banner or the American Flag again. America became Ecotopia and Ecotopia’s flag was the Wilderness and Ecotopia’s National Anthem is the wind. America loved itself so much it became Ecotopia after all. Now we play no National Anthem And need no Symphony or Amphitheater or downtown or Milwaukee As we sit and listen to crickets and watch fireflies as it gets dark in hot July along the pure freshwater shores of Great Lake Michigan.