Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm Back - Part 2

If I could figure out how to share the music I'm listening to now, I would. The piece that's currently playing is an Aaron Copland composition entitled, "Quiet City." It is somewhat obscure, but it's probably one of my favorite Copland compositions, for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that it is a beautiful piece of music. The other is that it features two solo instruments, the trumpet and the english horn. They don't complement each other necessarily, but they each have a role in the piece that fits. The trumpet represents a young man, the english horn and old one; at least that's my understanding of what Copland had in mind. How they fit into the scene of a quiet city is beyond me; I don't really know. But I do know that the music is hauntingly beautiful. He wrote it in 1942, around the same time he wrote "Fanfare for the Common Man" and his well-known "Lincoln Portrait." All awesome, all different.

Something I found in my surfing earlier - I want to share it. I know, we should be sharing holiday-related items, but I did that earlier :-) This is something that I've seen before, and I believe it is worthy of consideration. Considering all that has been going on in the world, it might be worth taking a minute to look at and think about. As an American, I have to admit it has, and likely will continue, to make me think. The biggest surprise I encountered is who this is attributed to - read to the end and see.

I remember this one teacher, to me he was the greatest teacher, a real sage of my time. He had such wisdom. We were all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and he walked over, Mr. Laswell was his name.

He said: "I've been listening to you boys and girls recite the Pledge of Allegiance all semester and it seems as though it is becoming monotonous to you. If I may, may I recite it and try to explain to you the meaning of each word:

I--me, an individual, a committee of one.
PLEDGE-- dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.
ALLEGIANCE-- my love and my devotion
TO THE FLAG-- our standard, Old Glory, a symbol of freedom, Wherever she waves, there is respect because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts freedom is everybody's job.
OF THE UNITED-- that means that we have all come together.
STATES-- Individual communities that have united into 48 states, 48 individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose, all divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that's love of country.
AND TO THE REPUBLIC-- a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. Government is the people and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.
FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION-- meaning, so blessed by God.
INDIVISIBLE--incapable of becoming divided.
WITH LIBERTY-- which is freedom and the right of power to live one's own life without threats or fear of some sort of retaliation.
AND JUSTICE-- the principle or quality of dealing fairly with others.
FOR ALL--which means it's as much your country as it is mine.

"Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance, "UNDER GOD".

Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said , "THAT'S A PRAYER" and that would be eliminated from schools, too?

--Red Skelton (1913-1997)


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