- Glenn Sonnenberg
Musings from the Bunker 7/4/20
Happy Independence Day!
I hope you are in a safe place, with loved ones, enjoying this day and reflecting upon the blessings of liberty.
Here’s some Americana for today…
ALEXANDER HAMILTON AND JOHN ADAMS
The remarkably talented Leslie Odom singing “The Room Where it Happens”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=295zT92knI4
Here is the cast of Hamilton, doing a run-through of “Wait for It” in street clothes before the Tony Awards:
And here’s the Schuyler Sisters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NAh94R8o52Y.... “How lucky we are to be alive right now…” A great message for all of us.
And before Hamilton was 1776, The Musical. This is from the movie version with William Daniels, the tune “Sit Down, John,” recounting how hard Adams had to fight against all odds to secure a unanimous vote on independence in those smoldering, humid summer days in Philadelphia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYDxyIzPe98. And “Is Anybody There?”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Fq4H4SAb6s
Finally, “My Shot,” from Hamilton, sung at the White House: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEHKBckBcr4
On this anniversary of the American experiment, some poetry from our history, which reads like poetry:
The Eighteenth Century
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” --John Adams
“They tell us, Sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed and a guard stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power.”
-- Patrick Henry
The Nineteenth Century
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
The Twentieth Century
“Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world. Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” --John F. Kennedy
"To sit home, read one's favorite paper, and scoff at the misdeeds of the men who do things is easy, but it is markedly ineffective. It is what evil men count upon the good men's doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
The Twenty-First Century
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” --Barrack Obama
There will be other great words to impel us toward realization of the American dream that are yet to be written.