My favorite holidays of the year are Thanksgiving (on which my birth happened to coincide in 1947), Christmas Eve, Easter, and the 4th of July. For me they represent and symbolize the apex intersection of divinity and humanity. Thanksgiving – a day to pause, feel, and express our gratitude with family and friends in the golden glow of autumn. Christmas Eve – after the parties and frivolities a silent night which inspires childlike awe and wonder of things to come. Easter – the awakening, mystery, and transcendence of the eternal nature of creation amidst the emergence of life from a winter of dormancy. Today, the 4th of July (Independence Day in my home in America) – the manifestation of the vision of man for mankind with all of its challenges and struggles to overcome the status quo and evolve the nature of our individual and collective consciousness and dignity. To my growing number of friends around the globe, I would propose a new sense of definition for ‘home’ – certainly not original with me but ‘Mother Earth’ where we are all brothers, sisters, and neighbors.
I hope you enjoy the following montage of my own reflections and celebration !
The year was 1938 and the ‘Great Depression’ bore down heavily in a way, that from a global perspective, I don’t think we yet truly understand. But in the midst of darkness there is always light. This is the original broadcast radio performance of God Bless America by Irving Berlin as introduced by Kate Smith on November 10, 1938.
The year was 1957 and on the 4th of July John Kennedy read the Declaration of Independence. If we do nothing else on this day contemplating this document will give us light and call to our individual reason for being. The signature preface is worthy of particular highlight. “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Some posited at the time that these ‘Fifty Six’ had signed their own death warrants. History would judge otherwise.
The year was 1981 and on September 19th Simon and Garfunkel played to a filled out crowd in Central Park NYC. A current moment primer – Look For America.
The year was 1886 and on October 28th the Statue of Liberty, a gift from ‘The People of France’ was commemorated in the New York Harbor of Manhattan, New York City. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.
At the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day. His last words were Thomas Jefferson still survives. He was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82. This is a remarkable story of courage, collaboration, and transcendent appreciation.
Through all the years, tears, and joys enjoyed we each ‘Look For America’ and will continue to do so. It knows no geographic bounds or lines in the sand. ‘America’ is a concept, not a place or construct.
So on we go in our search to ‘Look For America.’
Peace and blessing to each of you on this incredibly transcendent day!