Yesterday was American Independence Day. It’s the day Americans, like me, take to celebrate our freedom and independence. Many gather to barbecue and watch fireworks, still others, like me and my family, travel to be with family. We are by the lake, where we have celebrated the Fourth of July as a family for as long as I can recall.
Our family tradition began in after B and I married in ‘91, and with exception of a handful of years, I’ve been here on the Fourth ever since. At first, we celebrated with B’s parents and her sisters and their families. Then they moved away and they weren’t able to be here for the holiday and it was just our family and B’s parents. Then life intervened and her dad passed away in June of ‘14, then her mom followed in late ’15. Now it is us and we continue to get travel north and enjoy the lake with our friends we’ve grown to know along the lake.
We celebrated as we always do: we went to the town parade, then spent time on the lake, barbecue and enjoy dinner, and finished the day with the town fireworks celebration, and of course the traditional popcorn.
It’s been too long since I wrote a Tuesday’s Tune
post. I know it’s not Tuesday, it’s Wednesday, and I am a day late. Yesterday I got caught up in the day it was a beautiful northern Michigan day and I was thinking of the songs which remind me of the Fourth of July, I thought of several, but Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful” befits the holiday. I was taught the first stanza as a schoolboy,
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
There are three more stanzas to the poem, but I never learned them. The second stanza’s last three lines describe the intent of Independence Day and celebrating America’s declaration of independence from Britain.
O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness.
God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Monday morning, I walked around the cottage with my camera and captured the beauty of the early morning. The beauty of the spacious skies, the American flag, the trees, and blossoming lilies.
The mind sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend. Henri Bergson (1859 – 1941)
There was beauty and peace everywhere I looked. Yesterday was a great day and today promises to be a million and six times better. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one gaze here and another there, there is beauty everywhere.
Please, take a look about, in what do you see beauty?
“America The Beautiful”
Oh beautiful, for heroes proved,
In liberating strife,
Who more than self, our country loved,
And mercy more than life,
America, America, may God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain devined.
And you know when I was in school,
We used to sing it something like this, listen here:
Oh beautiful, for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties,
Above the fruited plain,
But now wait a minute, I’m talking about
America, sweet America,
You know, God done shed his grace on thee,
He crowned thy good, yes he did, in a brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.
You know, I wish I had somebody to help me sing this
(America, America, God shed his grace on thee)
America, I love you America, you see,
My God he done shed his grace on thee,
And you oughta love him for it,
Cause he, he, he, he, crowned thy good,
He told me he would, with brotherhood,
(From sea to shining sea).
Oh Lord, oh Lord, I thank you Lord
Ward, Samuel/Bates, Katherine/Courage, Alexander (Arr.)
NOTE: Tuesday’s Tune debuted in July 2015 and was intended to be a weekly or bi-weekly regular feature on Making the Days Count – I have let it slip, but I plan to bring it back this summer. If you are interested in writing a guest post, please leave a note in the comments. “Have a great day, or not – it’s your choice.” S. Diveley (b. 1968)
And, thanks for reading all the way to the bottom.