So this past Saturday was the 4th of July. That meant that I spent part of the day in New Harmony, Indiana with a portion of my mother's enormous extended family, and then drove halfway across the state to Lexington, Indiana to watch fireworks with the redhead's almost equally large family. It was a day of small town Americana: Golf cart parades, a band that would have fit in Mayberry, hamburgers, hot dogs, second- and third-cousins whose names I couldn't remember, four kinds of fruit cobbler, and finally whiffle ball, water balloons, fireworks, and glowsticks in the back yard with a dozen kids.
But whenever I think of July 4th, I think of this song. I don't know exactly why I view it with this sort of melancholy, but I don't see the holiday so much as a joyous celebration as an event laden with national memory. The holiday seems to me as one filled with old soldiers long gone, standing in the background. Maybe that's why I like Tom Doyle's American Craftsmen books so much, since in those the ghostly gray soldiers are actually tangible to the living. I have a few ghostly soldiers in my heritage, and the 4th always reminds me of them - they feel closer on this day for some reason. And Crosby, Stills, and Nash seem to capture how I feel perfectly.
On a side note, when the lines "I think about/a hundred years ago/how my fathers bled" were originally written, they referred to the U.S. Civil War, which had taken place roughly one hundred years prior to the composition of the portion of Daylight Again that was originally the song Find the Cost of Freedom. Now, a hundred years ago is World War I. In the blink of an eye, we will be one hundred years away from World War II. Time marches on, and the grey soldiers get farther and farther away from us.
Subsequent Musical Monday: (For His Head Is Hollow and I Have Touched) Spock's Brain by Five Year Mission
Other Holiday Songs Musical Monday Playlists
Crosby, Stills, and Nash Musical Monday Home