Reflections on the 4th of JulySteven Lieberman
Reflections on the 4th,
As you read this the Fourth of July celebrations are behind us. The bunting has been removed from the eves and the flags that fly occasionally next to our neighbors garage doors have been placed back into storage until the next celebration or catastrophe mandates that our feeling of national pride be re-kindled.
And that is the point isn’t it?
The metaphor of kindling.
Like a torch to light the bone fire the source of our light is kept protected and burning until we need it again to illuminate our path.
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Early on July 4th I was mandated by my youngest daughter…a Sheriffs Explorer to wake up at the God awful hour of 03:00 to take her to a muster location so she could do her volunteer work with the Orange County Sheriffs dept.: working security for the Lake Forest 4th of July parade.
As we drove along the parade route I could see hundreds of folding chairs and tents set up along the side walk….placed there hours ago to secure the “good spots” for the parade that was still hours away. There was a spectral quality to the whole scene…as though a party was set to begin, but no host was present.
My daughter was excited…I was exhausted…but as a parent you have to do what you have to do….so with a cup of coffee in my drink holder we drove towards the lights that the Sheriffs deputies had set up at the corner.
Their muster location looked like a military field command station. Uniformed personnel were busy setting up and preparing for what soon would be organized chaos. My daughter bounded out of the truck and disappeared into a sea of green and black uniforms.
She was, in a sense preparing to stand her post.
What strikes me most about the Fourth in our collective consciences is the generational transcendence. It is not the “Birthday” of our nation per-se that I find so interesting…the anthropomorphic idea that our country was “born” seems as odd to me as the idea that a building, or a thought was “born”.
Still…dates have relevance…they are metaphorical hooks that we can hang on too….and this day is one hell of a hook.
Not too long ago…in 1776 a collection of geniuses assembled.
I don’t use the word genius lightly.
I am amazed that at a singular point in history, at a singular geographical place these mighty giants…happy accidents of time and space were able to assemble…and to agree…on a document that would change the paradigm of peoples relation to their government…and to themselves. It matters little where they took their inspiration from. Cicero, Rousseau, Locke, the Iroquois….yes they all had a hand in setting the intellectual foundations of our country…but so did King George, Gutenberg, Plato, the tailor, the magistrate and the inn keeper.
We are a divine collection of experiences…and all of the intellectual, and spiritual experiences that went into the making of the Framers in Philadelphia can be seen in the final document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
If we are truly “born” as a nation our mother is the “Idea”. Not necessarily the “Ideal”…for the “Ideal” is something we may never know or understand…but the “Idea” that freedom and not just freedom… the dignity of freedom, is what propels our nation through history.
So…My daughter now stands her post.
Protecting the “security” of her parade with other uniformed police standing their posts. A new generation…who not too long ago could barely walk, prepares for her responsibilities to guard this great nation…guard it with a uniform and a gun?
Eventually perhaps if that is her destiny…but in the end she too will come to realize that these tools of defense guard not a plot of land, not a marble building, nor even a nations army….she is preparing to stand guard over our nations “mother”: The Idea.