Christmas Day 1896. J.P. Sousa is aboard the S.S. Teutonic, returning from a European holiday with his wife. In his day he is America’s musical superstar, part Bernstein and part Beatles. Before disembarking he writes the melody that will become America’s “official march” -- the most popular march ever written.
As we reflect on our nation’s independence, many are marching to drummers of discord. Character assassination fouls the air like a gagging smog. Friendships dissolve in partisan rage. Love of country and respect for authority are endangered species. “Stars and Stripes Forever” is being replaced by Scars and Snipes forever.
Paul’s counsel is worth recalling: “There is no need to write you about love for each other. You have been taught by God how you should love one another. … Make it your aim to live a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to earn your own living. … In this way you will win the respect of those who are not believers, and you will not have to depend on anyone for what you need.”
Could this be the life that our pilgrim ancestors and Sousa had in mind?