Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July

Over the years, Independence Day has shifted in meaning for me. When I was a kid, it meant watching James Cagney strut across the t.v. screen in the 1942 biopic, "Yankee Doodle Dandy." The screen was small, the picture was black & white but colorful nonetheless. I could count on this movie showing up every fourth of July just like I could count on seeing "The Wizard of Oz" every Thanksgiving.

During my teens, July 4th meant playing "Stars and Stripes Forever." For factoids about this great Sousa march and a clip of a Boston Pops performance, check out A Concord Pastor. Laugh and point: I played what during the late 1960s was considered a totally gender inappropriate instrument -- baritone horn.

And today? Between working for a recent war widow and having a dear friend about to be deployed to Iraq, Independence Day is especially poignant this year. I'm contemplating the freedoms I take for granted, the ones I wish for others, and the mixture of God's grace and human agency that makes any of them possible.

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