Happy Fourth

I’m gearing up for friends and fireworks but I wanted to share two excellent links, one of my own invention, and one sent to me this morning, along with a brief story that I always think of on days like today.

(photo by Steve took it)

First: Last year was my first Fourth in Mexas. I was working for a local radio station at the time so I was smack dab in the middle of the town’s festivities. There I was, a smarty-pants Yank expecting to spend the entire evening scoffing and saying, “well, back in Jersey…”

In actuality, I was overwhelmed by the turnout, by the complete fanfare and total celebration that is Mexas on Independence Day. I marinated in my thoughts for a bit, and then wrote this blog post, which I hope you’ll read. My sentiments haven’t changed in the last year.

Second: Despite my best efforts, I’m still being bombarded by news from the outside world. The latest move in Afghanistan caught my eye because I’m obsessed with Marines by association.

It’s not an article, just photo after photo of the first days of the operation. And they are stunning. Here is my favorite:

(photo borrowed from blogs.denverpost.com, by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Third: A quote, because I love quotes and because on a day like today someone has always already said it better than me.

“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”
-Richard Henry Lee

(Richard Henry Lee was the member of the Second Continental Congress who first called for a motion of independence from Britain. One guy changed the world.)

Fourth (and, therefore, best): A song with a story. I know the Boss has written songs more suited for the holiday, but this one has a story that is close to my heart, so I always associate with brave men and sacrifice as a result.

A certain Marine was once in a far-off place. He was isolated in a foreign town, surrounded by sun and sand and dust, moving among people who were hostile to him. He spent much of each day in danger. I know he was exhausted, but doing what all warriors do and moving ever-on despite the heat, the lack of sleep, and the myriad of unknowns.

One day he was in a sort of town market listening without understanding (always in the bubble that language barriers create) to the constant barrage of unintelligible noise as people shopped, ate, drank, haggled, and danced. He was incredibly, completely alone. Then, without any warning or possible explanation, the opening strains of the following song floated out from some distant jukebox.

No reason why that song should have even existed in that place, and certainly I can’t imagine why some local chose to play it at that moment. But I’m glad they did because for one brief moment (and every time he ever heard that song afterwards) that Marine had a piece of home.

God Bless America.

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3 thoughts on “Happy Fourth”

  1. And God bless THAT Marine, and all of our children who choose to sacrifice for our benefit. I spent the morning of July 4th watching our hometown parade, chatting with the 5 new friends under 6 years old I just met (…with the cool Dora the Explorer and Sponge Bob balloons), and listening to their grandpops reminiscing about their experiences in the Vietnam and Korean war while floats, and bands, and returning-home military boys passed by.
    The local Presbyterian home had a bus with all of their veterans aboard. Under each window hung their formal military photos taken 50+ years ago. Dad & I stood. He saluted them, we gave the thumbs up with great big smiles, and waved our thanks to these fine Americans. It was lovely.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful post! What a story. When I read about that Marine in a far-off village listening to Thunder Road, tears started coming to my eyes.

    God bless America, and God bless the United States Marine Corps.

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