Sunday, July 02, 2017

"American Anthem" for Independence Day, 2017

Here's an appropriate song for the Independence Day weekend, 2017, performed by Norah Jones. Her version, from Ken Burns' 2007 World War II documentary, The War, is without doubt the most familiar. But for better or worse, that juxtaposition has left this lovely piece of music entangled for the most part with military imagery.

It was written by Gene Scheer during 1998 and first performed that year by Denyce Graves at the Smithsonian Institution as the Save America's Treasures initiative was launched. The song was part of the Millennium celebration on the Mall in Washington, D.C., during 2000; and also was performed by Ms. Graves at the 2005 inauguration of President George W. Bush.

And so while certainly appropriate as a musical salute for those who have served and died in the U.S. of America's wars, it also acknowledges the efforts and sacrifices of all who have fought --- and occasionally died --- while giving of themselves to further what sometimes is called the "American dream," freedom and justice for all.

It also stands as a call to collective action on the part of women and men of good will needed now, in these troublesome and contentious times, as much if not more than ever.

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