So this past Saturday was the 4th of July. That meant that I spent part of the day in New Harmony, Indiana with a portion of my mother's enormous extended family, and then drove halfway across the state to Lexington, Indiana to watch fireworks with the redhead's almost equally large family. It was a day of small town Americana: Golf cart parades, a band that would have fit in Mayberry, hamburgers, hot dogs, second- and third-cousins whose names I couldn't remember, four kinds of fruit cobbler, and finally whiffle ball, water balloons, fireworks, and glowsticks in the back yard with a dozen kids.
But whenever I think of July 4th, I think of this song. I don't know exactly why I view it with this sort of melancholy, but I don't see the holiday so much as a joyous celebration as an event laden with national memory. The holiday seems to me as one filled with old soldiers long gone, standing in the background. Maybe that's why I like Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen books so much, since in those the ghostly gray soldiers are actually tangible to the living. I have a few ghostly soldiers in my heritage, and the 4th always reminds me of them - they feel closer on this day for some reason. And Crosby, Stills, and Nash seem to capture how I feel perfectly.
Crosby, Stills, and Nash Musical Monday Home