Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

July 04, 2004

Go 4th!

It's the morning of the 4th of July. Good ol' Independence Day. Barbecues. Parades. Fireworks. Son Tim has gone to Boston, where the celebration is EXTRAVAGANT! There will be a million people camped out along the banks of the Charles River, and the Boston Pops will be playing the 1812 Overture "in the rocket's red glare." Which, by the way, will reflect dazzlingly on the glass towers of Boston's skyline.

Meanwhile, up the road a piece, The Lovely L and I will probably be watching all this on TV. It seems we are past the point of desiring to negotiate massive crowds, endure the company of drunken revelers, and be stuck in traffic for an hour or two afterward. Hmmm. Can you tell I have mixed feelings about this day? A far cry from these hopes, expressed in the Virginia Gazette in 1877: "Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen and Amen."

But in any case, it's worth reading the Declaration itself at least once a year. This brief document gets rather lost in all the revelry. And yet this is what all the fuss was about, all those many years ago. And it's why we have the barbecues, parades, fireworks, etc. For a nice discussion of the drafting of the document, the debates that swirled around it both before and after its drafting, check out this article.

We celebrated the holiday last night by traveling up to Freeport (accompanied by Son Nate), home of a little ol' mom & pop store called L. L. Bean. There we watched a free concert by the awe-inspiring South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Come to think of it, not a bad way to celebrate Independence Day, since their music honors a more recent struggle for freedom, which culminated just 10 years ago. It was a grand evening!

And so, here's wishing all of you a happy 4th. Even if its not your own nation's day of independence, hey, you can still have a barbecue!


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