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233 candles on her cake

Posted by: tdt -

By Judi Wiegman

    On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia was aglow with blazing bonfires. Merchants and citizens placed candles in their windows, church bells pealed throughout the city and ships shot cannons.  It was just one year before that the United States of America was born and declared that the colonies no longer belonged to Great Britain. It was her 1st Birthday!

    Every year huge celebrations have been held and the American flag unfurled to announce to the world that the greatest nation in the world is still free.

    July 4, 1776—a date to remember!  Woodrow Wilson, Nobel Peace Prize winner and 28th President of the United States, made this statement—“A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what have been about.”

    The design of our flag, representing first the original thirteen colonies and now all 50 states working together, has changed through the years. Our Pledge to that flag, first used in schools in 1892, has undergone word changes (i.e. “Under God” added in 1954); we continue to celebrate our freedom, religious liberty and honor our national heritage. 

    Music is a great part of this heritage. Some famous songs have their roots deep in the history of our country.

    The Star Spangled Banner, Francis Scott Key, during the War of 1812. On March 3, 1931, it was approved by an act of Congress to be the national anthem of the United States

    Erie Canal, 1825, arranged by Larry Mayfield.

    The Yellow Rose of Texas, a minstrel song, possibly 1836, “J.K.” (the unofficial state song of Texas).

    Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe, 1861, just after the Civil War began.

    America the Beautiful, Katherine Lee Bates, 1893.

    The Eyes of Texas are upon you—1903—John Sinclair**.

    This is My Country, 1940, Al Jacobs and Don Raye, popular during WWII.

    This Land is Your Land, Woody Guthrie, 1956.

    **The Eyes of Texas are upon You is the alma mater of the University of Texas.  It is sung to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and is sung with the right arm lifted up and the hand poised, making the “hook ‘em horns” symbol.  It was sung at the funeral of Lady Bird Johnson, an alumna of UT, on July 14, 2007.

“The eyes of Texas

are upon you,

All the live-long day;

The eyes of Texas

are upon you,

 You cannot get away.

Do not think you

can escape them,

At night or early

in the morn,

The eyes of Texas

are upon you,

Till Gabriel blows

his horn.”

    As you take time tomorrow to celebrate America, remember our men and women who have shed their blood to bring us this far.  Celebrate their sacrifice on your behalf.  Remember also those who are away from our shores and those here in training, ready to go when needed to fight for the liberty we hold dear. 

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, …that among these are Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness.” 

    We ARE America, the home of the free and the brave.  We stand together and say, WE CELEBRATE YOU AMERICA. HAPPY 233rd BIRTHDAY!