Happy 4th of July
July 4, 2015
Posted by on
I had this incredible experience last night. My boys took me to see the local minor league baseball team as a late Father’s Day gift. We had a good time, made possible, in part, by my request that they keep their phones in their pockets. A request they mostly honored. It was the type of evening I look forward to having with them in the future. Where we come together a little more as peers rather than me as the father and the two of them as “the boys.”
Before the game started, they prepared for the singing of the National Anthem. A local veteran’s color guard brought the colors out to home plate and then the PA announcer said, “We have a special guest to sign the National Anthem. You.” And, so we did. The 10,000 – 12,000 people in attendance sang the National Anthem. Quietly. Almost reverently. And I thought I wanted to blog about this. And then I didn’t. It was one of those moments I wanted to write something meaningful about, only I didn’t know if I could quite say what I thought about that moment. So, I didn’t write a post about it.
And a little while ago, I get an email from a blogger friend who had witnessed her small town’s fireworks show and she had a few thoughts about some of the contradictions involved in the display. And I emailed her back the following, which I’ll let stand as my thoughts on last night:
Last night, my boys took me to the local minor league baseball stadium to see a game. When it came time for the National Anthem, rather than having somebody come out on the field to sing, the PA announcer said that it would be sung by a special guest — all of us attending the game. So, we did. And I thought that in that moment, there was a chance of something. As silly as it seems, what if we did that at every sporting event and every other occasion where the national anthem is sung. Rather than having some famous person butcher the thing, we should be singing it. Off key (because that’s simply what human beings are and Americans in particular) but together (because that’s what we need to be to get through this thing called life).
It was a special moment. The kind we need more of in this country. Instead of recalls and flame wars. We need to recommit to the ideals of our founding fathers — like you said. Citizen politicians. Citizen volunteers. People who contribute because it’s the right thing to do. It’s what needs to be done. Enough with the name-calling and the finger-pointing.
But, yeah, sigh, Doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, does it?
The interesting thing is that there isn’t anybody I talk to that disagrees with this point. So, what do we do? This is the point where I start to believe in the conspiracy theorists who claim that the corporations and the powerful have taken over our government, leaving us little people with nothing. I hate when I go there, but …
This ramble brought to you by … a quiet evening at home. I stayed home to defend our home against the idiots who want to set off illegal fireworks in the middle of the worst drought California has seen in recorded history. The family is elsewhere. I’ve had a couple of beers. Homemade cinnamon rolls are in the oven. And I’m working on a short story. And my friend from Colorado reached out to share a feeling with me. One I have as well.
Happy 4th of July to you. Celebrate the America you believe we should be. The America you believe we could be. Ignore the reasons it isn’t that and imagine what it would be like if it was. Maybe, just maybe, you and I could be the start of making what you and I imagine into a reality.