“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”

I have traditional posts for most holidays. When I try to write something new, I find I can’t do better. It seems I poured all of my feelings and memories into the very first post, but here is an old memory I’m happy to share: when I was a kid, I marched in St. Patrick’s Shamrocks, a drill team which competed all summer long. All winter we learned our on-field maneuvers. We marched in local parades including the one in Wakefield on July 4th. One of my parents’ friends had a house on the parade route. Everyone would be on the lawn or the front porch to watch the parade. When St. Pat’s marched by the house, everyone yelled my name. I was both embarrassed and delighted. That’s one of my favorite memories of the day.

I just love birthdays and today is the grandest of them all. Happy Birthday, America.

On July 3rd 1776, John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail. In it, he predicted the celebrations for American Independence Day, including the parties:

“It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

The problem was he expected July 2nd to be Independence Day as that was the day the Second Continental Congress voted for independence, but the signing ceremony for the Declaration of Independence didn’t happen until two days later so because July 4th appears on the Declaration, it became the date we celebrate Independence.

I know some people complain that the meaning of the day is lost in the barbecues and the fireworks, but they have forgotten John Adams’ hope. We are celebrating exactly as he wished. Flags are waving everywhere. Families get together to celebrate and to break bread, albeit hot dog rolls. Fireworks illuminate the sky. Baseball is played on small town fields and in huge stadiums. Drums beat the cadence in parades. We sing rousing songs celebrating America and our freedom. We also sing heartfelt songs about what America means to us. We are many sorts of people, we Americans. We don’t all look the same, eat the same foods or dress in the same way, but we all celebrate today and we share a love of country. Happy Birthday, America, from all of us Americans.

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10 Comments on ““America is a tune. It must be sung together.””

  1. Hedley Says:

    I am an immigrant

    At 26 I was given the opportunity to find my way in America. I settled in Detroit, married, raised a family and became an old man. This country has given me a full and blessed life. I am British by birth and American by choice,

    I love to visit Britain and especially London as it was the basis of my formative years, but I go as a nostalgia tourist and am very quickly anxious to get back to Detroit. I take pride in my City, its endeavors and its challenges.

    America is a special place, I join all of the KTCC family in celebrating its birthday.

    I am an immigrant, now how does our song go….

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      My great-grandparents were immigrants who came mostly from Ireland. They worked whatever jobs accepted the Irish hoping to give their children better lives. Each generation did better than the previous. I was the first member of my family to go to college and now I have two nephews and a niece who also went to college. My great-grandparents would have been proud.

      I have had the best life. I believe it is because I am an American who has choices. I love this country and was proud to serve it for two years in Ghana. I did my best.

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    Happy Independence Day!

    The Wakefield parade is back again. Just as good as ever though different.
    My parents had friends with a house on the parade route and across from the common. Best place for parade watching and for the fireworks later on. We always went there.
    My father was a firefighter and one year he got to drive the rescue truck in the 4th of July parade. He let us ride with him. I was thrilled to be in the parade but very quickly realized that being in the parade means you only get to see your bit of it. We were at the tail end so we got to see the rescue truck and the fire engine ahead of us. I decided afterwards that I’d rather watch the parade than be the parade. 🙂

    I made guacamole. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it but I have made it.

    Enjoy the day.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Happy 4th of July!!

      My sister is going (has gone) to the parade. I remember being at my parents’s to celebrate the day. We’d put our chairs out to save our viewing spots. We always sat under trees. I liked watching far more than I liked marching.

      I also went to the fireworks a few times. When I was a kid, I could sometimes see the very high blasts of color from my house. I’d sit outside and watch for them.

      Guacamole is one of my favorites. It is dinner some nights.

      Have a wonderful night!

      • Caryn Says:

        I used to be able to see most of the fireworks from my parent’s bedroom window but the trees have grown much taller and block it all now.

        There’s a huge controversy raging on the unofficial community FB page about the chairs. Most of us view it as tradition but some people are crying foul. It’s been going on as long as I can remember and nobody cared much before FB. Our unofficial community FB page is full of fierce and angry people. I believe other towns subscribe just for the entertainment. 😀

      • katry Says:

        I didn’t realize the chairs had become so controversial. I suppose there could be one person guarding the spots and alternating with other people, but it has been, as you mentioned, a tradition.

  3. Birgit Says:

    Happy Birthday, America, and have a great day, dear Americans!
    Barbecues, parties and fireworks is a great way to celebrate this holiday.
    As a birthday present we’ll take your current president for a few days so you hopefully can have a peaceful weekend without him but despite German ancestry we would be deeply grateful if you take him back afterwards, this G20 summit is annoying enough.

    • katry Says:

      Thanks, Birgit!
      I’m glad you’re taking him for a bit, but the problem of him and his twitchy Twitter fingers go with him.

      I wonder what awful things he’ll do at this summit. He pushed aside the Prime Minister from Montenegro at the last one so he could be in the front near the cameras so sadly anything goes.

  4. Bob Says:

    My grandparents immigrated to this country from Eastern Europe to escape the Czar’s pograms against the Jewish people at the turn of the last century. They worked hard in sweatshops, lived in tenement houses and raised their kids who became the “Greatest Generation” who helped defeat Hitler and the empire of Japan. This afternoon we saw a wonderful production of South Pacific which was very appropriate. This production included the new songs added in the 2008 revival on Broadway which emphasized the racial under tones that Rodgers and Hammerstein felt they could not bring to the surface in 1949.

    Tonight we will watch the fireworks display over lake Grandbury and remember what a great gift of freedom that our founders gave each one of us. BTW I love every one of your musical choices for today.

    Thanks as always and have a happy Independence Day.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I know of the pograms which had Jewish people immigrating to save themselves and their families. They arrived here and became part of the American dream. Their children fought to keep that dream alive and to keep the light of freedom glowing.

      I didn’t know they had added songs in the revival. I thought the song You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught was an outright condemnation of racism. That Nellie ran away when she saw the half Polynesian was also about racism, but she went back which I know was not well received by some audiences.

      I watched the Boston Pops and their fireworks during the 1812 Overture.

      Thanks, on the songs and on a Happy Independence Day.


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