On the Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day

Happy 4th of July! Happy 235th Birthday America!

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about the cause of some of America’s problems.  It seems that in the age of “me, me, me” that we have forgotten how to become united, how to be a real country that believes in itself, in its people, and in its ideals.  So, today, on America’s birthday, I thought I would share a few quotes from a great president that really sum up how we should think and how we should interact so that we can move forward productively and positively:

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”
– John F. Kennedy

And so that we can celebrate:

Yesterday, I read an article about the national anthem.  Apparently, there is a growing movement to change the national anthem to something that is easier to sing and to something that is not about a battle that few people know about (perhaps that is an issue that education could fix?).  Regardless, I’m a big fan of The Star Spangled Banner:

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Happy Fourth of July!

Yesterday I was at a nursing home that was decorated for the Fourth of July and listened to an older gentleman sing patriotic songs and older songs.  It was amazing to watch the audience light up at the music and the way the performer recognized veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces.  I remember the celebrations that I attended when I was younger (maybe five or less) with my great-grandma.  Those are memories that I still cherish as I watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.  As I think about contemporary culture and the music choices of our modern age, I can only hope that we continue to appreciate music greats like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and many others – as well as appreciate the classic patriotic medleys that are so uplifting and continuously relevant.

Each year at Boy Scout camp, the staff would add a little something special to the opening and/or closing campfire to recognize the Fourth of July.  We have given speeches, sang songs, recognized veterans, had “fireworks” shows with glow sticks, and much more.  We have also “reenacted” the revolution at the waterfront complete with Paul Revere’s ride, George Washington on the Delaware, Boston Tea Party, King George, and the actual war.  It is always a good time.  I am interested to hear what this year’s staff ends up doing.  The camp staff sings a lot of songs at various times.  One of my favorites (although I do have a lot of favorites) is called “America”.  It is sung in a round –

America, America
How can I tell you how I feel?
You have given me many treasures
I love you so.

It is simple yet so powerful when sung at a Scout camp – or elsewhere.

I am planning on going to Fair St. Louis tonight downtown to celebrate the 4th.  I have not been downtown for such a celebration for as long as I can remember.  It should be a good time.

Enjoy the day, however you choose to do so.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our wonderful country, the United Sates of America!