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Showing posts with label Fourth of July. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fourth of July. Show all posts

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July 4th Flags 2016

 Fourth of July in our new home means bringing out flags and finding new places to put them.  Nora calls them kites, so we have many kites in many places. I love seeing our big flags waving in the breeze of this summer weekend. Today there are even clear blue skies and fluffy white clouds for their background. We also have tiny flags that for years have lined our front sidewalk and in this home, Nora and Kristen lined the edges of our front flower bed with them after Nora had her own parade with one.
We also have some new ones, crafted one evening last week with a group of friends from our church.  A dozen or more women, young and old, gathered for good conversation, good food, and fun with scraps of denim, ribbons, lace, and torn strips of fabric.  Every single flag was different, all were lovely.  Kristen and I both made one. The most beautiful I saw was being crafted by a young woman from the Congo who with her husband and 2 small children has only been in our country a few weeks. I watched her as she chose ribbons and lace and deftly attached them to create a flag for a country that must not yet feel like her own. I thought how she must feel, the refuge she has sought here, and what freedom looks like to her. 

As the night skies fill with bursts of fireworks, we hear patriotic songs that we have sung since childhood, and as we pray for our country and its leaders, I am thankful for our flags, and the freedom to proudly wave them.

                                 AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
O beautiful for spacious skies,
   For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
   Above the fruited plain!
      America!  America!
   God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
   From sea to shining sea!
O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
   Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
   Across the wilderness!
      America! America!
   God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
   Thy liberty in law!
O beautiful for heroes proved
   In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
   And mercy more than life!
      America!  America!
   May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
   And every gain divine!
O beautiful for patriot dream
   That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
   Undimmed by human tears!
      America!  America!
   God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
   From sea to shining sea!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, 2013

Many years ago we had a 78 rpm recording by Senator Everett Dirksen titled Gallant Men which we enjoyed listening to with our small sons during patriotic holiday celebrations. The record won a Grammy award in 1968 for the Best Documentary Recording.  We lent the record and, most likely in one of our many moves, lost track of who had it.  There have been many 4ths of July, Memorial Days, and other commemorative occasions in the years since when Joe would remark or I would remember "that record, Gallant Men."  I was pleased to find the recording on YouTube this year.  Among several selections, this one is chosen for its audio quality, not to plug Capitol records. Senator Dirksen's deep gravely voice and sincerity still touch me as do the words.  It would be easy to become discouraged at the polarity and disagreements in our nation today, but we can still be most grateful for living in a country with freedom, and for the people now and through the years who give their lives in service to all of us.

When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.
Everett Dirksen