Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Belated Independence Day 2010 Thoughts

One month belated though it may be, I just thought I’d include an image and some thoughts from my fourth of July driving from Columbus, OH to Knoxville, Tennessee.

This year marks the 234th anniversary of the United States’ declaration of freedom from the British Empire. Of course, folks still speak English, and carry on with a number of British customs, but this is the day that celebrates the beginnings of the United States.

During my road trip with my good buddy Derek Roberts, we made a stop at Fort Ancient State Park in Southwestern Ohio. We saw mounds and earthworks that pre-date the united states, and even pre-date Columbus’ famous voyage. As we were driving away from these ancient earthen works, Derek began reading a blog post from an activist named Shane Claiborne about Independence Day, and ways we can celebrate it every day. Give it a read. I think you’ll enjoy it and I know you will be challenged by it.

After a long journey across Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, we finally arrived in Knoxville, and I was able to meet with an old classmate, Anna Hoskinson, and her boyfriend Chad. Later that evening, we was able to meet up with another old friend, Christopher King, and his family in downtown Knoxville to enjoy the fireworks. Between Anna, Chad, and Christopher, I was able to soak in an amazing series of historic sites, stories, and anecdotes of the land around this Tennessee town.

Christopher also allowed me to consider another insight. What did it mean to Francis Scott Key, to see the flag still waving when bombs were bursting in the air and America was under fire from Britain. Maybe fireworks aren’t just a celebration, but the sound of the explosions are meant to be a reminder to us of the very real explosions that endangered people’s lives as they fought for the freedom of America.

It probably wasn’t awe that they felt as they heard explosions similar to the ones that delight and refresh us on independence day. It was more likely fear, coupled with incredible perseverance to stay the course and to survive. How refreshing indeed would it be to see a flag still waving after watching and feeling explosions through the night.

And what can we learn from those who persevered? I’m sure there are tons of lessons to be gleaned, but the one I hold most tightly to this independence day is the lesson of perseverance and hope. We must persevere to hit goals that we have set, and we must hope that in spite of our circumstances, we may yet see our world, our communities, our loved ones, and ourselves transformed to become a better, even the best, version of ourselves that we can be.

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