In the mid-1770s our nation was born out of rebellion and resistance to foreign rule. The poets have memorialized the main events of our birth and growth as a nation. Hear what they have to say.
Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote these words in "A Ballad Of The Boston Tea Party" --
"The flags go down on land and sea like corn before the reaper'
So burned the fire that brewed the tea that Boston served her keepers.
And Freedom's teacup still o'erflows with ever fresh libations;
To cheat of slumber all her foes, and cheer the wakening nations."
Ralph Waldo Emerson penned these words in "Concord Hymn" --
"By the rude bridge that arched the flood, their flag in April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood, and fired the shot heard 'round the world!"
And all of us have memorized "Paul Revere's Ride" by Longfellow --
"Listen, my children, and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five, hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year."
Laura Richards made famous the name of Molly Pitcher. Born Mary Ludwig, she married an artilleryman named John Hays. She got the nickname "Pitcher" because she served pitchers of cold water to the soldiers. When her husband was wounded, Molly took over his gun.
"All day the great guns barked and roared;
All day the big balls screeched and soared;
All day, 'mid the sweating gunners grim, who toiled in their smoke-shroud dense and dim,
Sweet Molly labored with courage high, with steady hand and watchful eye;
Till the day was ours, and the sinking sun looked down on the field of Monmouth won,
And Molly standing beside her gun."
Francis Scott Key penned these famous words during the War of 1812 --
"O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming!
And the rocket's red glare, the bomb's bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there!
O say, does that star-spangled banner still wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Oh!, thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, for our cause is just,
And this be our motto: 'In God we trust!'
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"
On this Independence Day, what better time to re-read the words of the poets as they describe our struggle for freedom, to read again the "Preamble To the Constitution," to re-read the Ten Commandments, to think seriously about the cost of the freedom we too often take for granted, and to find constructive ways to celebrate our independence as a nation and our freedom as a people!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions are those of the author.Religion on 07/04/2019
Print Headline: Celebrate Independence Day