Ghosts of My Country

butch-guice-captain-america-theater-of-war-ghosts-of-my-country-no-1-cover-captain-americaA few years back, Marvel Comics published a series of one-shots written by Paul Jenkins that centered around Captain America’s involvement in different wars. The final issue, titled “Ghosts of My Country”, features vignettes spanning from the American Revolution to the events of 9/11/2001. Throughout, various characters (e.g., John Adams, Francis Scott Key) seem strangely inspired to compose or recite verse about, well, “a ghost of my country…”. It’s an intriguing concept piece. I recently read it in the Captain America: Theater of War hardcover and, in honor of Veterans’ Day (weekend), decided to assemble the scattered lines together for your consideration….

Ghosts of My Country

“I hear a ghost of my country
Made real on this day in July.
I am wrested from tyranny’s clutches
By the sound of its birthing cry.

We are bound by a fair declaration
Of which I am a proud engineer.
I hear a ghost of my country;
‘Tis the promise of all I hold dear.

I hear a ghost of my country
Through the rain and the treacherous air,
Through the thunderous noise of the cannons,
Through the sound of the bugle’s blare.

I see a battery of angels
That no rocket’s red glare will obscure.
The ghosts of my country are calling
that my country will ever endure.

I see a ghost of my country,
In whose men it is clearly defined!
With the glory of God to protect us,
We’ll stand and we’ll hold to the line!

Though we face the greatest of perils,
We will neither surrender nor flee!
I see a ghost of my country, boys!
And that country will always be free!

I hear a ghost of my country,
A specter of what we will be.
It is born of our nightmarish actions;
It is guided by hellish decree.

It calls with a voice full of anger;
It thrives on a message of hate.
I hear a ghost of my country now;
It’s a voice that I helped create.

I dream of a ghost of my country;
I dream of familiar skies.
Though our voices are silent,
We still dream of home
And a thousand unspoken goodbyes.

I see a ghost of my country…
…I see a ghost of my country…
…I see a ghost of my country…
…I see a ghost of my country…
…I see a ghost of my country…
…I see a ghost of my country…

ghosts-of-my-country-final-pageI am a ghost of my country;
Of my country I will always be.
I have weathered the storms of my enemies
In the name of the Land of the Free.

I have tested resolve to its limit,
I have slipped from the confines of Earth.
For all of my days I have sworn to uphold
The ideals of the place of my birth.

I am a ghost of my country;
Of my country I will always be.
I am born in the heart of a nation,
My sweet land of liberty.

I dwell in the souls of the fallen;
I breathe life to their just memory.
I am a ghost of my country,
And my country’s a ghost of me.

Quite a mix of emotions, eh? It’s even better with pictures!

Shortly before the issue originally came out, Jenkins — who is a British ex-pat, btw — was interviewed about the series. Here’s what he said about “Ghosts of My Country”:

“That one to me is by far the most special. It’s my love letter to Captain America. Without giving away too much, it’s about what Captain America must really be. When we see him and see his shield and his flag-based uniform, he is the sum total of all of the most important and meaningful and meaningless and mundane and intense moments throughout the history of the U.S. He is the personification of America. It’s called “Ghosts of My Country” and we journey across time to see Cap as the ghost of his country. He exists throughout all of the most important moments of American military history. He was there. And he was there because the sum total of everything that was happening made him come alive. It’s kind of a strange concept I suppose, but he is alive because of everything these soldiers did…. Every American soldier brings Captain America alive.”


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