I was driving home this morning from one of the most charming neighborhood parade celebrations… A place where neighbors still gather together with Frank Capra-patriotic flair. A young man bugles reveille to the raising of the flag in the back yard of a row of quaint homes. A sign proudly proclaims this not-so bygone era tradition since 1937, here in this little block named for one of the loveliest of English flowers, and I close my eyes to imagine for a moment those Meet John Doe neighbors of that first festivity.
Today… still celebrating our nation’s birth with reverence for God and country, in that lovely Music Man feel. A minister bows his head with us, a saxophonist improvises beautifully, a woman leads in a zippy tune she composed as ode to this little spot in a land we love, an actor movingly offers his portrayal of Atticus Finch in a scene from a play of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, bidding us to live and judge with God in our hearts…
And it seems fitting when returning homeward, one of those lump-in-throat classics of the 1940’s comes on radio. Such a tender melody that always evokes nostalgia for an era that was really long before my time. A breathtaking new version of the once Sinatra hit, recorded by a tenor with a lush voice, Daniel Rodgriguez – also known as the singing N.Y. policeman. Simple words… beautiful, tender words… of sweetness and goodness of heart… The House I Live In…
So… In ode to all we Americans celebrate and honor this day, I thought I’d offer the lyrics here… a few words out of date (such as the age of America), but sentiment I pray remains ageless… May the Lord bless and keep this, His heart, in us! Happy 4th!
(Listen to Daniel Rodriguez’ oh-so-stirring Broadway-sound version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTL86x4LlhU )
A name, a map, the flag I see,
a certain word, “Democracy.”
What is America to me?
The house I live in, A plot of earth, a street,
The grocer and the butcher and the people that I meet,
The children in the playground, the faces that I see;
All races, all religions, that’s America to me.
The place I work in, the worker at my side
The little town or city where my people lived and died
The “howdy” and the handshake, the air of feeling free
the right to speak my mind out, that’s America to me.
The things I see about me, the big things and the small
The little corner newsstand and the house a mile tall;
The wedding and the churchyard, the laughter and the tears,
The dream that’s been a growin’ for a hundred fifty years
The town I live in, the street, the house, the room,
The pavement of the city, or a garden all in bloom,
The church, the school, the club house,
The million lights I see, But especially the people,
That’s America to me.
written by: SAINTE MARIE, BUFFY / BATES, KATHERINE LEE / WARD, SAMUEL A.;
Lyrics Â© Universal Music Publishing Group, Curb Music/Curb Records/Mike Curb Music/Curb Songs, EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Thankful to all those who have gone before us…