By Kerri Romeo
Alice is excited to share the plans she wrote about a new education with her Wonderland Reboot friends when she sees the Eaglet flying overhead. As she follows she hears singing up ahead. She loves music!
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore that the havoc of war and battle’s confusion, a home and a country should leave us no more…
…Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave…”
Alice finds a ferry boat to travel across water to an island. Once her feet are on solid ground again, she follows the footsteps of the many who have walked here before her. Her own steps echo through what were once crowded hallways. As she gets closer to the music, she stands before a magnificent statue of a woman, Lady Liberty.
Alice reads an inscription:
“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Alice wonders who these people are and where they are now. Maybe she can meet them and they can talk about why so many people are in poverty and what they can do about it if she can find the golden door.
Just as she said this, she noticed that one of the trees had a door leading right into it.Alice in Wonderland, Chapter VII
‘That’s very curious!’ she thought. `But everything’s curious today. I think I may as well go in at once.’ And in she went.
After such a long journey, she is surprised to find herself back in the rabbit hole. It always seems to happen when she starts asking questions. This time she finds an acoustic guitar, a record player and a packet of seeds. The music that was leading her along this long journey had stopped and the needle was skipping. The title on the record says “The Star-Spangled Banner.” A flag in red, white and blue appears before her with instructions to place her right hand over her heart. She reads…
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
She finds another passageway, paved in gold. She grabs the guitar and seed-pack and follows the path out to a great lawn with a huge white house. She definitely made a wrong turn again. But…
“Now, I’ll manage better this time.”Alice, Chapter VII
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them…Alice in Wonderland, Chapter VII
Everyone looks up at Alice. Who invited a child?
On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment scroll, and read as follows…Alice in Wonderland, Chapter XI
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
After the reciting of the Declaration of Independence everyone sat in silence contemplating the words. Words that have been repeated for 245 years.
“I vote the young lady tells us a story”The March Hare, Alice in Wonderland, Chapter VII
In the Wonderland Reboot, when Alice steps up to the table to share her journey for the day they are eager to listen to her point of view. Where the young cannot vote, their voices can still be heard and valued. Alice questions the symbols she has encountered along the way. Being so far removed from their patriotic sentimentality she can consider them with an open mind. The younger generations are less apt (thankfully) to accept the ideologies of the past so readily. If our country’s symbols are of courage and bravery, liberty and independence, equality and innocence shouldn’t we celebrate rather than repress those same qualities expressed in our youth? Aren’t they citizens too?
“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”John F Kennedy
The Wonderland Reboot is not exclusive to adults or to Only the Young. “Building a World that Works for All” encourages everyone to participate as a community. What do the traditional American symbols mean? How do we resolve the contradictions? Are freedom and war synonymous? Can happiness and inequality co-exist? What is patriotism? What is citizenship? What kind of country do we want to be?
The peaceful night falls upon the Wonderland Reboot. Alice looks around at her motley crew of friends, both younger and older, with her heart full. She looks up at the sky, stars white twinkling against the deep blue sky. Red. White. Blue. True and simple. Alice understands that a return to simplicity will not be simple, but it will change the world for the better. Alice digs into the earth and plants the seeds. Will it be an oak tree? A rose bush? Or has she planted a new seed to grow? She picks up the guitar and begins creating a new song.
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.