Saturday, July 4, 2009


For most of my life, I've felt ambivalence about the 4th of July. Except for a few years of enjoying small town parades when I was a child, I don't have good memories of this national holiday. For almost 20 years, from 1984 through 2003, I slept mornings and worked evenings as a transcriptionist in a hospital almost every July 4th, usually a busy night for emergency rooms. This year didn't feel any different until I got an email from President Barack Obama by way of Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee:

"This weekend, our family will join millions of others in celebrating America. We will enjoy the glow of fireworks, the taste of barbeque, and the company of good friends. As we all celebrate this weekend, let's also remember the remarkable story that led to this day.

Two hundred and thirty-three years ago, our nation was born when a courageous group of patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the proposition that all of us were created equal.

Our country began as a unique experiment in liberty -- a bold, evolving quest to achieve a more perfect union. And in every generation, another courageous group of patriots has taken us one step closer to fully realizing the dream our founders enshrined on that great day.

Today, all Americans have a hard-fought birthright to a freedom which enables each of us, no matter our views or background, to help set our nation's course. America's greatness has always depended on her citizens embracing that freedom -- and fulfilling the duty that comes with it.

As free people, we must each take the challenges and opportunities that face this nation as our own. As long as some Americans still must struggle, none of us can be fully content. And as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed, that triumph -- that pride -- belongs to all of us.

So today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm's way to preserve and protect it. It is a day to celebrate all that America is. And today is a time to aspire toward all we can still become.

With very best wishes,

President Barack Obama

July 4th, 2009

P.S. -- Our nation's birthday is also an ideal time to consider serving in your local community. You can find many great ideas for service opportunities near you at"

It's another subdued 4th of July for me but more hopeful than all those that have come before.

See Alive on All Channels for more about ambivalence.

(At the beginning of the post is one of my linocuts from 1979. I was almost 30 years old then. When I woke up this morning and looked around my bedroom, it caught my attention. It's been on my wall for years, but I haven't looked at it for a long long time. It is about having one's hands full of challenges but celebrating life anyway. If you're wondering about the initials "ARP" on the linocut, scroll down the page here.)


mum said...

Had to laugh when I saw Mrs Palin draped in the flag at Alive on all Channels. She looks as if she's impersonating a two year-old with a security blanket. I'll definitely be checking out that blog as I will Antler's poetry.

For now, I'm mostly taken by your linocut and the fact you 'saw' it again. Funny, that - how things spring back into our attention at a given moment.

Balancing it all - it's tough at times. At least, I find it tough. Here's wishing you, me and everybody else good lungs with which to keep the energy circulating.

best to you, am.

beth said...

Your linocut is wonderful.

I got drunk last night with some friends on my back porch (and I'm not a drinker) just to break out of a mood, so to speak. I'm hung over today and it's raining but it was worth it, I feel better, although I may never drink again:)

Thanks for the hit of Bob Dylan.

Love visiting your blog.

am said...

mum -- Good lungs. Yes. A good wish for all. And I've been meaning to say that I love the Mona next to your comments.

beth -- Glad that you are feeling better. It takes what it takes. As long as I never drink again, I've been feeling better, too (-: