Summer Hiking

Summer Hiking
Mt. Constitution

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

God Bless America

Today, the birthday of our great nation, reminded me of how blessed I am.  I attended Mass with several of my 4th Day friends.  The reading from Amos admonished us to seek good and not evil, but Father Neely reminded us that we have choices.  And freedom, too, is a choice - perhaps thats why this particular reading seems appropriate on the 4th of July.  The church was not full, but the voices rendered a touching America the Beautiful.  Grace's sister, Ethel, and their brother, Vern, and sister in law made up most of the choir.  There was not a dry eye in the church after the last song.

My special friends, Mary Lou, Betty, Cecilia, and Kathy, gathered on my patio for mimosas, home made biscotti and scones, and fresh fruit.  Mary Lou mentioned how grateful she was to her courageous ancestors who came to this country from Italy.  We each had an opportunity to share our ancestral stories.  I wondered how difficult it must have been for people to leave their homeland - mind you without telephones, cars, the INTERNET, mapquest, Smart Phones - none of those modern devices to connect with distant cousins who encouraged them to come to America.  Betty thought perhaps those pioneers had a more adventuresome spirit than we could even imagine.  Anyway, we said lots of prayers of gratitude for our freedom and the choices our ancestors made over 150 years ago.

Later, I rode my bike to Pioneer Park and met Jack and Regina there - all of us in awe of this great family event.  I thought perhaps this is the way our ancestors celebrated the 4th of July - just simply gathering in a park and enjoying each other's company.  Today people were waiting in line to ride in an old fire truck and/or a horse drawn stagecoach.  I loved to listen to the clop clop of the horses as I followed it around the park.  Music groups entertained those sitting in chairs in front of the bandshell and kids were drawn to the fountain, splashing and cooling off.  I continued my bike ride down to the levee and noticed Southway Boat Ramp full of boat trailers.  There were lots more people enjoying the water than walking or riding on the levee today.  But some people were fishing, some were swimming at the old Beachview site, and some were setting their chairs up along Prospect Avenue for the fireworks tonight.

The Lewis-Clark Community Band provided a great concert in Pioneer Park late this afternoon.  Many dedicated musicians gave up their holiday to entertain a large crowd gathered in the Park.  Listening to America the Beautiful for the second time today brought tears to my eyes.  The band also plays the theme songs for every branch of our military and the leader asked the veterans or current servicemen and women to stand up when their song played.  Honestly, what a gift these men and women have been to our country!  Most of them made the choice to serve so the rest of us could enjoy freedom and peace.  "God shed his Grace on thee" in the form of these dedicated veterans.  

Mary Lou and I visited with a serviceman that told us about the POW flag.  He said when servicemen gather in their dining halls they always have an empty chair and the flag at that space reminds them of their fellow service people either missing in action, or prisoners of war.

Grace's family also enjoyed the concert.  It's Vern Nathe, Grace, Ethel, and Gladys

Now it's time to get packed up so I can ride my bike, with a chair on my back, over to Prospect Park and enjoy the fireworks.  God Bless America and all of you!

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