I HAVE DIED IN VIETNAM
But I have walked in the face of the moon
I have befouled the waters and tainted the air of a magnificent land
But I have made it safe from the disease
I have flown through the sky faster than the sun
But I had idled in the streets made ugly with traffic
I have littered the land with garbage
But I have built upon it hundred million homes
I have divided schools with my prejudice
But I have sent armies to unite them
I have beat down my enemies with clubs
But I have built courthouses to keep them free
I have built a bomb to destroy the world
but I have used it to light a light
I have outraged my brothers in alleys and ghettos
But I have transplanted a human heart.
I have scribbled out filth and pornography
But I have elevated the philosophy of man
I have watched children starve from my golden towers.
But I have fed half the earth
I was raised in a grotesque slum
But I am surfeited by the silver spoon of opulence.
I live in the greatest country in the world in the greatest time in history
But I scorn the ground I stand upon.
I am ashamed
But I am proud
I am an American.
(Published sometime in 1976 in Time Magazine with 25,000 requests for reprint)