The Real Story

The rotunda packed,

Lined with rows of white chairs,

Families in suits and ties and fancy dresses

So many colors and countries, languages and stories,

All waiting anxiously for the ceremony to begin

To make of them citizens here in this country that they long to call home.

Above us, around the dome,

Two brown robed priests, a cross in hand,

Three explorers, muskets at their sides,

A blue vested soldier,

Brigham Young with outstretched arms, striding forth from the wilderness,

Rows of conestoga wagons behind him.

Upstairs above the hall an exhibit on the Golden Spike and the railroad,

Another display on the Chinese workers who built it.

Later today, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau exonerates Chief Poundmaker,

The revered Cree leader, for his wrongful conviction of treason

….130 years ago.

“It is time to tell the real story,” he says.

I wonder on the “real story” here

As I follow East the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, The Sand Creek Massacre trail….

Who gets the placards that line the highway?

Whose story does it tell?

Years ago I was told that visitors to Israel and Palestine who stay for a week go home and write a book.

Those who stay a month, write an article.

And those who stay over a year, nothing at all.

They see the layers on layers of misperceptions and complications,

Considerations and complexities.

But today, out here on the road, I wonder,

What’s complicated?

What’s not?

What do I want to understand and what do I choose not to?

Who is it who sits beside me silently staring down the road

Trying to get me to see what I do not want to see

To understand what I am longing to forget.

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