Heralding in this July 4 Holiday is the distinctive, iconic and unmatched voice of Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful”. No one sang this song like Ray Charles, and the depths expressed in his rendition come from his story: a blind man, who’d seen the glory and depravity of himself, this county, and humanity, yet he could still sing about the grace of God on this country, and find and celebrate the good.
There has been much debate on these pages and other places about the Juneteenth Celebration, now commemorated as a national holiday, diminishing or replacing Independence Day. As I expressed in my article, despite the intentions of some for that to be the case, it will never happen. Opening up to more history and how it has shaped our viewpoint of America and Independence is not a bad thing, but a good one; and it should be used by conservatives as a launch point to teach the fullness of history, and not the selectiveness of it. To describe the journey of how the signing of the Declaration of Independence was the first phase of the road that would end slavery and lead us to Juneteenth, and how freedom is not a casual construct, but a deliberate and painstaking state of being that must be remembered, pursued, and YES, celebrated at every opportunity. Thomas Jefferson himself said,
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”
That vigilance, rigor, and organic joy in the beauty, bounty, and blessedness that is America, is resident in Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful.” Gratitude is the natural byproduct of a free life, and the gratitude and praise embodied in the lyrics, and his delivery of the lyrics, cannot be denied.
The site Pop History Dig talks about A Message From The People, the album where Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful” was first recorded:
Of the album, Charles explained that he approached it with the intention of including songs “about some of the wrongs of our country” but also “wanted to show what was beautiful and great” about it.
What a stark contrast from
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