Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Greetings

Fireworks, July 4, 2013
Happy 4th of July!                                     Return to
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Wishing everyone a wonderful Independence Day!
I am a first-generation American.  My parents were happy and proud to be here, to be making their way in a strange new world after losing their families and their family lands and homes in the turmoil and devastation of Europe during World War II.  While I know this country is not perfect, and while I am grieved by some of the trends I see in politics and economics these days, I still love this country with all my heart. 
The Star-Spangled Banner
I have so many good memories of this day:  sitting in the field behind the high school to watch the stars explode and fall from the sky; participating in the block party my street always held; watching my
not quite two-year-old son's rapt face turned to the dazzling sky; sitting on a blanket with my mother and my son, waving sparklers wildly to make crazy glittering magical patterns in the dark air, laughing madly and loving one another; walking home with my family and friends under the indigo sky, everyone sunburned, happy, still dazzled by the fireworks.  And the parades!  Winding noisily through the heart of the town, with antique cars, floats, firetrucks, marching bands, and clowns tossing handfuls of candy to the watching crowd.  I remember marching in the parade with my Brownie troop - what had seemed very glamorous in theory quickly became less fun than it looked, as mile after mile of parade route was traversed.  And later, great pots of steamed clams, grills full of hotdogs and hamburgers, potato salad, tomato salad, ice cream cones, and all kinds of patriotic cakes with strawberries and blueberries galore, in the company of my family and all of my neighbors.  Wonderful times!
Nocturne in Black and Gold.   J.A.M.  Whistler, 1875 

I know that this all sounds rather idealized, like a Norman Rockwell illustration - corny even, but this really is the way it was for me, and it was lovely.  July is a beautiful month, hot as blazes, and incredibly steamy where I grew up (where the atmosphere was as dense and hot as Venus) - but still these are some of the best memories I have.

Yet all of these lovely memories are pinned upon an awareness of history, and the cost of liberty, and the wisdom of a middle path, and the dangers of not just communism or even socialism, but also of capitalism run amok.  There is a bullseye in the middle, in which the culture can thrive in all it's diversity.  More folks have to be committed to making ours a truly civilized world.  I am a believer in the Golden Rule.  I think most people are, as well - so I am hopeful.  Here's to a better tomorrow!

May you all make wonderful memories for yourselves and for your loved ones today!

Lady Liberty

Dara Anzlowar
A starry night in July

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Fireworks photo © S.M.Thomsen

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