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Jul

6

2004

Washington's Day:

Since 1994, I've ended every 4th of July by listening to the song "Wahington's Day" by the Hooters. The tradition began that year in Los Angeles where I concluded the holiday by watching fireworks from the base of the "D" in the Hollywood Sign.

I got the idea from the song's first verse...

Did you think I could ever forget
The night by the arlington flame
In the silence I heard it
Through streets so deserted
You whispered and called me by name

Did you think I could ever forget
That powerful look in your eye
Where Lincoln stood strong there
You held me so long there that night
On the fourth of July

I wasn't a typical 4th. Our friends came over for a BBQ then declined to watch the fireworks through the fog. We played board games instead. I also didn't read Jefferson's letters, didn't listen to Aaron Copland's "The Lincoln Portrait", didn't feel any of the benign patriotism that normally marks the holiday for me. It's a different time, darker, sober, filled with foreboding and regret.

Which is why, at 1:30 AM when everyone had gone home, when it wasn't even July 4th anymore, I went up the roof of our building and, in fog so thick I could dive into it, I listened to Washington's Day.

When the wars that men wage are all through
And their monuments put on display
Tell the hungry and stranded
The poor empty handed
We'll meet them on Washington's day

I hope and I pray that you'll be here with me
When the mountains that rise tumble into the sea
And the visions that come are the visions that stay
Hope you'll be here with me
Home on Washington's day

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