Monday, July 03, 2006

Celebrating Independence Day

Fireworks and barbeque may be traditional means of celebrating the Fourth of July, but it is also an opportunity for more reflective observations. I always listen to Louis Armstrong over Independence Day weekend.

Thought to have been born on July 4, 1900, Armstrong is now known to have come into the world on the less auspicious date of August 4, 1901. It is telling how appropriate and fitting 7/4/00 seemed to be for the man from New Orleans. Armstrong codified the notion of the jazz solo as an expression of individual creativity, and invented scat singing as a vehicle for vocalists to enjoy the same freedom. Born in St. James Alley, the middle of abject poverty and mean living in New Orleans, Armstrong would become Ambassador Satch, the most recognized and popular American around the globe.

106 years after Armstrong’s apocryphal birth-date, America faces a new set of challenges in the War Against the Terror of Islamic-Fascism. Many American military personnel are serving on the front-lines of this battle, some of the most heroic are profiled in Home of the Brave, by the late Sec. Caspar Weinberger and Wynton Hall. I’m ordinarily reluctant to flak here for a book published by my house, but this one is a bit of an exception. I’ll simply point to this recent post from Gateway Pundit, for further details.

This Independence Day, remember the courage and sacrifice that keeps America strong, and enjoy the sounds of freedom produced by Armstrong in that uniquely American art-form, now called jazz.