OPINION – It’s that time again. The American flag is center stage as it graces everything from T-shirts to flip-flops. From coast to coast, fireworks displays will light up the night to commemorate the birth of our great nation.
Independence Day is here.
Many are anxiously awaiting the much anticipated celebration that 99.9 KONY FM will be unveiling this year. The traditional display promises to be bigger and better than ever, as the music and narration will match up in harmony to the fireworks show.
For the last 17 years, I have laid on the cool, green grass at the Dixie Sunbowl with my family to witness the incredible fireworks demonstration. It is the epitome of summer.
Some think that the actual fireworks are the heart of the show; yet, for me, the music is the most significant element. The fireworks would be just bright, fantastic lights in the sky without the moving, patriotic music that connects us emotionally to our nation’s history through song.
The lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” are powerful and speak to America’s resilience. In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the first verse of the poem after feeling inspired by the sight of the American flag flying over Fort McHenry, the morning after its bombardment during the War of 1812. Congress proclaimed The Star-Spangled Banner the U.S. national anthem in 1931.
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Over the past two decades, some fireworks displays have seemed more significant and emotional that others.
The show in 2002, after the events of 9/11, was indeed a moving experience. Our nation was still in mourning and angered over the terrorist attack that took place on our soil. Country rock songs blared through the Dixie Sunbowl, as Toby Keith’s blatant lyrics of his then new hit, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,” spoke to our desire for revenge. We were the new, angry Americans.
In the summer of 2004, after we had captured Saddam Hussein, the crowd cheered to “Born in the USA,” by Bruce Springsteen and Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Our vindication in Iraq had the crowd singing along with palatable pride.
I look forward to this year’s show, but find myself concerned about America’s future. Our economy is failing. Our government usurps more and more control over our lives. Yet, the greatest thing about us is our ability to be optimists at heart. We have an unquenchable thirst for hope.
We tend to think that the battle for America to be a free nation rests solely in the victories of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and now our generation has the luxury of merely enjoying the fruits of those labors; not so.
Today, we must fight our own government for our liberty.
The battle for freedom will always be a continuous fight. The minute we feel as though the lyrics of our nation’s patriotic melodies only apply to the past, we are in trouble.
Music has united us throughout history. We may all have our differences but the songs about America give credence to our commonality; we are all citizens of this incredible nation. These iconic melodies bring us together and invoke our American pride.
The sweet lyrics of my “My Country Tis of Thee,” written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831, remind me of the strength of this nation. We stand on the shoulders of many courageous fellow Americans through history. America is a legacy.
My country, ‘tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From ev’ry mountainside
Let freedom ring!
Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.