Back in the 1960s-‘70s, I did more than my share of
marching, protest meetings, and singing all the while. A lot of songs I sang
then I would not sing today, largely because my personal ideals have changed
and my perspective has widened. But I never lost my feelings of pride in my
country. And I never forsook the pride I felt for those in my family who had
served their country with singleness of purpose. How blessed I have been to be
married to a righteous Navy vet. His stories (the ones he was permitted to tell)
were always uplifting and added to my sense of patriotism. I don’t regret my
activities of my youth and I recognize much of my enthusiasm was fueled by a
sense of love for my country. But I also realize that my sentiments were not
shared by all my friends, though most of those in my “circle” did come from
that same script. I have a great appreciation for a statement Pete Seeger made
in one of his songs of protest: “If an army invaded this country of mine, you’d
find me out on the firing line.” At this time in my life, and looking at what’s
going on around the world, I think I’d look at that action as probably too
So, I am actually posting this on the 4th of
July, a special date in many ways. My brother was born on this date in 1945, so
one of my first actions of the day is always a quick call to him, but then to
promise a longer one later as he always has plans on this date (usually
involving baseball, which it does today, in spite of his years alive now totaling
78). And it was on this date, 47 years ago, the 200th anniversary of
our country, that I had a special “date” with my future eternal companion,
watching fireworks at Angel Stadium (OK, outside the stadium, in the grass)
where we reminisced about our respective youths and realized we had been in a
parade together in 1959 in Illinois!
Lots of thoughts here. Now, which will the song topic be? The underlying “Patriotism” sounds about right. There are a lot of songs, born of America’s Civil War, that speak of love of country and service in the military at the time (1861-65), but when we look closer at the words, we realize that most of the songs, at least those composed during the war years, were anti-war songs. Funny how context can change an entire focus!
One of my favorite performers, writers, troubadours, and all-'round great guy was Hoyt Axton. He does a rather recognized song here.
Got a song of patriotism that comes to mind?