On July 4, 1976, I was one of the smallest soldiers in the Revolutionary Army. In that year bicentennial fever swept through the U.S., and I caught an especially acute case. Soldiers from George Washington’s army occupied my bedspread. The seal of the Continental Congress dignified the rug at the center of my bedroom. Reproductions of recruiting posters for revolutionary militias were plastered on my wastebasket. On the Fourth I put on a tricorner hat, rolled up my Toughskins jeans to turn them into knee breeches, donned my mom’s ruffled blouse and grabbed my musket so that I could march with about a hundred other white suburbanites in our neighborhood parade. That day was not just about patriotism. It was also about fitting in, dressing up, eating ice cream and spitting watermelon seeds. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I loved this revolutionary country.