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Classical 101

Celebrating Freedom

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[caption id="attachment_1283" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg"][/caption] [AUDIO] As Independence Day celebrations continue across America, it seemed fitting to re-publish a blog from Memorial Day 2009.  I was watching the Boston Pops July 4th concert on the Esplanade on the St. Charles River when I began to realize what I was witnessing.  From the city that played such a huge role in our nation's history came the Boston Pops playing for an audience of about 900,000 people.  The host was Craig Ferguson, a Scottish-born immigrant who became an American citizen less than a year ago. Ferguson, who is quite outspoken about his pride in becoming an American citizen, (see his book American on Purpose), sings the songs we have heard from childhood and too often take for granted with gusto and conviction.  There was a huge number of youngsters who knew the words to those same songs.  People of all nationalities and all walks of life had gathered to celebrate the birth of this nation.  Soldiers and veterans from all branches of the military sang along with country singer Toby Keith as he performed American Soldier...a song which has become almost an anthem for the military.  Here are some of the lyrics. I will always do my duty no matter what the price I’ve counted up the cost, I know the sacrifice And I don’t want to die for you, but if dyin’s asked of me I’ll bear that cross with honor, cause freedom don’t come free. I’m an American Soldier an American Beside my brothers and my sisters, I will proudly take a stand When liberty’s in jeopardy, I will always do what’s right I’m out here on the front lines, sleep in peace tonight American Soldier, I’m an American, Soldier. No matter your politics or position on the wars we're fighting, I challenge you to not have tears come to your eyes when you see members of our Armed Forces singing these words.  As the celebration of our nation's birth draws to a close, may we all remember that we each have a role in what this country is and what it becomes.  I invite you to read, once again, how those who work to preserve the history of the founding of our nation honor those who have sacrificed themselves for the principles upon which this country was founded. -- Boyce Lancaster Memorial Day dawned cloudy and muggy in eastern Virginia.  Yet a good-sized crowd assembled mid-morning for a Memorial Day ceremony with the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg.  As the crowd milled about near the Governor's Palace, members of the Militia queued up to our left, while the Fife and Drum Corps assembled at the far end of Governor's Green.  The service, to honor military veterans who died while serving their country, began with the Fifes and Drums of Colonial Williamsburg. [audio:fifes-and-drums-open.mp3] What followed was simple, moving, and a fitting way for us to begin our Memorial Day.  Three musket volleys were fired as the Fifes and Drums played "Oh God, Our Help in Ages Past," and again after the placing of the first commemorative wreath at Bruton Parish Church, along with a wreath  placed at the French Grave site, to honor those interred in or near those sites from the American Revolution and the War Between the States. As you enjoy your holiday and the summer ahead, please take a moment to remember those who serve(d).  - Boyce Lancaster and Beverley Ervine [audio:o-god-our-help-w_volleys.mp3]