Cogitation 27 Saturday 7 July 2018 Blitz, burst, boom, bang . . . for 30 minutes or more fireworks blanketed the sky in many communities, officially marking national birthdays: July 1 in Canada, July 4 in the US.
The sky over Rice Field at Elkhart Central High School
11 years ago
The year before I retired from remunerative employment, I was asked by the retirement community where I worked to be part of planning a city-wide Fourth of July event called Celebrate America.
Weeks before organizing bus transportation for the July 4 entertainment, speeches and fireworks, while school was still in session, I recruited four veterans, who were residents of the retirement community, to share from their life experiences with fifth-graders in a local school.
In an assembly of the two fifth-grade classes, I made a brief presentation on what brought us to the school. I showed the group four large pictures of the Four Freedoms painted by Norman Rockwell. These freedoms are Freedom from want, Freedom of speech, Freedom of worship, and I said, “one especially meant for you, Freedom from fear.”
I introduced the four veterans and said they would talk to each class about the freedoms and opportunities they had worked for, that they enjoyed over many years, and “that they are still enjoying in retirement living.”
On the theme of freedom I further said:
“When we celebrate America’s birthday, we praise freedom–freedom to learn, to dream, to belong, to live in peace.
“When we celebrate America’s birthday, we praise peace. What do you do when somebody takes your favorite toy, or is mean to you? Give the other person the gift of peace.
“When we celebrate America’s birthday, we praise our land–beauty of the fields, rolling hills and lakes, the sand dunes and other treasures of the Indiana National Lakeshore.
“When we celebrate America we are saying thank you for the freedoms we enjoy–freedom from want, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and freedom from fear.”
The evening of the celebration proper brought out thousands of people to a local golf course.. Tom Netherton, who had been part of the Lawrence Welk Show, was the featured musician. The fireworks were spectacular. And the residents for whom I was responsible all found their way back to the buses.
Countryside field scenes
A visual celebration
These “twin” lilies at Adams Lake Pub near Wolcottville, Indiana, and their cousins everywhere, offer their own burst, blitz, boom, and bang in visual celebration.
With Ellie Wiesel I affirm that peace is our gift to each other. May we continue to find ways to give the gift of peace to others in building communities of rich diversity and tending land, water and air where the wild and the tame flourish. It’s all about freedom from want, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, and freedom from fear.