My father loved to listen to symphonies but he also loved the marches of John Philip Sousa born today in 1854. My father was a faithful Democrat who piloted a B-17 in World War II. The plane was shot down over the border of Germany and Austria, and my father parachuted out to land in an apple tree on a farm in a little village which my husband and I later visited.
Some of the villagers saw him come down from the sky, and were still alive when I went to visit the village a few years ago. When they heard I was there, they ran to greet me, thrilled that when they handed him over to the SS, they hadn’t handed him over to death. He was transported by train to a prisoner of war camp in the north of Germany and survived.
I sit with that now, that village, and how my father’s ancestors may have come from that area. I saw men who looked like him, and now here we are, so divided and separated, when I truly believe that living comes down to that we love our children, and that includes all children, all new beings living and growing on this planet Earth.
I listen to Sousa’s “The Stars and Stripes Forever”. I tap my feet knowing this song resonates no matter what our political beliefs.
I read this today in Writer’s Almanac, and do a double-take at the year. Sousa said this in 1906. What would he think of technology today?
He was not a fan of the new recording industry and all its technology and spoke adamantly against it at a Congressional hearing in 1906: “When I was a boy … in front of every house in the summer evenings, you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or old songs. Today, you hear these infernal machines going night and day. We will not have a vocal cord left. The vocal cord will be eliminated by a process of evolution, as was the tail of man when he came from the ape.”
I smile and lovingly tap my vocal cords, gums, teeth, and mouth as I connect to this new day which allows me to listen to different versions of songs, many of which are older than I. I curve to embrace what centers flow, the latest theme in my life.