Thursday, July 5, 2012


{Image of the the original
Star-Spangled Banner
snatched from the Smithsonian}
Curious, isn't it, the traditional American Independence Day? I never stopped to ponder the significance of the fireworks, cook-outs, and apple pies that rule the day until I found myself surrounded a crowd of international students who could really care less about the Declaration of Independence. Sitting with them around a campfire, eating s'mores, and observing as representatives from all the world over sang their national anthems,  I found myself pondering the meaning of being an 'American' relative to being French, German, Spanish, or Russian. There was a certain reverence in the voice of a boy we affectionately call 'Phil'as he sang "Deutschlandlied" {the German National Anthem} solo, hand over heart, eyes to stars, as if he could see the very reflection of his homeland in the sky. This soul element present in almost every anthem was markedly absent from our playful version of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Why the lack of reverence for the nation that empowered me to influence its future, encouraged me to use my voice, and   gave me the chance to pursue happiness as I see fit? My question was interrupted by a sudden burst of what has apparently become the theme-song for the summer,Fun.'s 'Some Nights'. The recurring question, 'What do I stand for,' ushered in the realization that perhaps my generation is taking this question outside of its original musical microcosm and asking,
"What do I stand for as an American?" While we could point out a thousand different meanings of 'American' in years past, at the end of the day, "Most Nights, I don't know."


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