Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Festival of Flags for the Fourth

Soon the sun will rise again on another Independence Day.  I'm guessing that most of us will not do anything momentous, nothing along the lines of founding a country.  It's a good day to think about how the country came into being, the incredible risk that our founders took, the amazing odds that a tiny group of people overcame.

Or maybe, given the Supreme Court rulings of the past several years, you're in more of a mind to think about the role of individual states and their relation to the larger country.  That seems like a good Fourth of July meditation too.

I've not been to many other countries. Do individual houses fly the flag the way we so often see here? Do seemingly random flagpoles dot the landscape? I confess to finding it a comfort sometimes to see that flag floating undisturbed above it all.

I like seeing flags flying on boats too. When we're with my sister, sailing the Chesapeake, we don't see many foreign flags. Would that be different if we did much boating in South Florida? I suspect it would.

I don't have many Independence Day traditions.  Some years, we see fireworks, but some years we don't.  Some years we have a cook out, but often we don't.  There aren't foods I need to make my Fourth of July.

But I do try to think about the formational documents of the United States.  My one tradition has been to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence on NPR's Morning Edition.  It almost always moves me to tears to hear it read out loud.  If you go here, you can listen to last year's broadcast, or you can read the Declaration of Independence for yourself.

Those signers of the Declaration pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, so great was their belief in what they were doing.  It's a good day to think about our commitments, our values, what we hold most true.

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