My earliest memory of the Fourth comes from a parade in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey, sometime in the late ’50s. I’d have to say ’58 or ’59 [which would make me 4 or 5 years old]. I remember standing on the verge between the sidewalk and the main street of town, and being told, “Here comes the fife and drum corps.” I didn’t know from a fife, but the drums set up a pounding rhythm in my chest that hasn’t stopped since.
Of course, that early memory and influence would mean nothing without later reinforcement. Or… the meaning would be terribly shallow. But America and Americans have — time and time again — reinforced that numinous feeling of overwhelming pride and glory, filled that vessel those drums made of my heart over and over again.
It’s no wonder to me that myriad millions come from all over the globe to become Americans. Or, better said, to reaffirm the American being they felt all those miles away.
And I won’t sully the spirit of the day by naming what it is that does make me wonder.
Happy Independence Day! Let freedom ring/Let the white dove sing/Let the whole world know…/ Roll the stone away… /It’s Independence Day.
–Me, in comments at Sarah Hoyt’s blog.
This was just a spur-of-the-moment reaction to emotions Sarah expressed in the main post. But, once it was done, it seemed like it had more substance than I might have gotten from deeper consideration. In fact, I have been trying to write an abstruse disquisition on the myriad shadings of the words Independence, Liberty, and Freedom, without meeting much success. Just shows to go ya; dive in headfirst; you’ll get farther, faster, than dipping your toe in tentatively.