The nurse stormed out. I left behind her without saying a word. I went outside and cleared my head for a few minutes. When I came back, many of the staff were gathered around the nurse, telling her how right she was, how the suicidal patient was “obviously imbalanced.”

I walked past the patient’s room and saw she was staring off at nothing. The only other person in her room was a watcher – someone to make sure she didn’t hurt herself.

I turned and walked back into the room. I said to her, “I’m going to go now.” I put my hand on her arm and added, “I am sorry.”

She didn’t say anything. She didn’t look at me. But she didn’t flinch.

I like to think that’s because she understood that I understood. I doubt it, but I like to think it.

As I walked to my car, looking for the stars hidden behind the clouds, I realized that I don’t believe in the Fourth of July anymore, either. At least, not in the same way I used to.

I will watch the fireworks. But this year I’ll think of those who cannot see them. The dead soldiers and civilians – American, Iraqi, Afghani. I know the list can easily go on. But what I’ll mourn most of all is that my president has taken from me the innocence of the Fourth of July and the freedom it, and we, are supposed to represent.

Do you believe?

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