Happy Fourth of July

Old Glory as the sun sets
Old Glory as the sun sets

W.J. Astore

It’s good to have a day like the Fourth of July, a day to celebrate the promise of our country, and a day to reflect on our blessings.  It should be an apolitical day, a day to be with loved ones, and a day to remember how lucky we are, even if it’s not always good times for everyone.

I took a few photos at dusk the other day on Cape Cod.  They’re a reminder to me of the blessings of nature, and also that we share our land in common: that this land is your land, my land, for you and me.  Let’s share it together.

Sunset near Keveney Bridge
Sunset near Keveney Bridge

I hope you enjoy these photos.  Happy Fourth!

Calm and Serene
Calm and Serene
A path to the salt marsh
A path to the salt marsh
Another shot of Old Glory -- from sea to shining sea
Another shot of Old Glory — from sea to shining sea


7 thoughts on “Happy Fourth of July

  1. One of my Fourth of July songs. Every time I hear it, I see that iconic picture of the little Vietnamese girl running naked down the street, her clothes burnt off by U.S. napalm, wailing in pain and terror.

    Defenders of the Flag
    Music and Lyrics by B. R. Hornsby/John Hornsby

    It’s coming any day said the captain
    It’s coming any day now cried the priest
    The people in high places may defend you
    But son you better hope they keep the peace

    Can’t you hear them calling
    Can’t you see them shine
    The city halls are falling
    The defenders drink their wine

    And when the party’s over
    Their stomachs start to sag
    Defenders, Defenders of the flag

    The congregation’s waiting at the altar
    They can’t find the preacher anywhere
    They found him with the new girl from the choir
    Where they store the boxes of the book of prayer

    If these guys are the good ones
    I don’t want to know the bad
    You wonder how it happened
    They just picked it up from dad

    While faded old glory
    is hanging like a rag
    Defenders, defenders of the flag

    The flag is flying high over the courthouse
    The wheels of justice never stood a chance
    The judge is down at Charlie’s on his lunch hour
    Checking out the picture show from France

    Carrying a fifth of whiskey
    In a dirty paper bag
    Threw the ball to home
    But they always missed the tag

    Faded old glory
    hanging like a rag
    Defenders, defenders of the flag

    If I could have my way this Fourth of July, I’d change the title of that song to “Defilers of the Rag.”


    1. Yes, there’s truth in those grim lyrics. But I would caution against fixating on the ugly. I remember a line from the “B” movie, “The Swamp Thing”: “There’s beauty in the swamp, if you know where to look.”

      There’s beauty in America — if you know where to look. On the Fourth, let’s look for that beauty and celebrate it.


      1. I did not say that we should fixate on the ugliness of America on the Fourth of July, or any other day for that matter. Just that we should give it equal billing with the self-serving nationalism. In the interest of fairness, your pictures should have included a few from the more squalid sections of Detroit, Michigan, and Camden, New Jersey, for example. And why not a few pictures of “Old Glory” waving from above a Forward Operating Base in Fallujah and Ramadi in Iraq: two foreign cities that the U.S. military wantonly demolished? The sun rises and sets on those localities, as well as on Cape Cod. Since America does not have a recognized National Day of Atonement, I submit that the Fourth of July can do just as well as any other day. Americans do not have a problem looking for reasons to celebrate themselves. They do that every day of the year. Instead, Americans need to learn how to abjectly apologize for the cultural and physical vandalism they have visited upon much of planet earth, not least of which includes the United States itself. And even more than a sincere apology to a world we have grievously wronged, Americans ought to use the Fourth of July as a day where we promise to find some constructive way to help instead of hurt. Now, on this Fourth of July, as President Obama creeps once more back into Iraq without a mission except to shoot or bomb some more foreigners, Americans have no idea how ugly their passive, flag-waving acceptance of rampant U.S. militarism makes them look to a world that increasingly fears and loathes them.

        Oh, yes. One more thing from the Asia Desk here in Taiwan. The long U.S. campaign to browbeat Japan into rejecting its U.S. dictated post-WWII pacifism so as to restart its own militarist adventures has started five-alarm bells ringing here in Asia, particularly in China and both Koreas. A more stupid, dangerous. and historically ignorant policy one can hardly imagine, even considering the motherless cretins who infest the United States government in that incestuous cesspool of corruption called Washington, D.C. With all the tons of weapons-grade plutonium from their nuclear power plants, and with their world-class technological development, the next time around will not see Japanese fascist militarism turn out the way it did during its previous episodes. Right about now, that American flag symbolizes rank incompetence and belligerent insanity to more millions of people world-wide than most Americans can even imagine. Way to go, Uncle Stupid.


      2. Gee Bill, I went with the family to the local July 4th parade in our small town and all it was was a parade of vintage automobiles and local businesses floats selling their wares. I looked hard for something beautiful and it was not there. I did see a lot of cheap American flags and old people showing how ‘patriotic they were by wearing red white and blue clothing also made in China. Sorry. I guess that is the beautiful future.


      3. But you did it with your family, traven, and they profit from your tough-spirited love of country (and I mean “love” in the critical, unblind, sense).

        Don’t lose faith!


  2. Mike: That is, for sure, a contrary perspective. Yes, there’s too much mindless nationalism in the USA. And there’s definitely too much celebration of the military (e.g. I can’t abide camouflaged baseball uniforms). But if we use the 4th to celebrate our founding principles as well as our core Constitutional rights, we have done a valuable thing.

    Americans (not necessarily our government) have a generosity of spirit that is also worth celebrating.

    National holidays are a time for celebration as well as reflection. Reflection should include a consideration of faults and flaws as well as achievements and strengths. Your reflections are a reminder that America has forfeited much of its promise. Now we must work to restore our country to fulfill the promise of 238 years ago.


  3. I’ll be going into the nearby small town with our son and two granddaughters to see the parade. I feel like Mike though. The 4th celebration has become a nationalistic enterprise for a nation that has lost its way.


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