I try not to get political around here. I can't stand political arguments and mean-spiritedness, and it's very easy to lean a little too far to either the left or the right and then opinion can become meanness. I do sometimes get on my highhorse regarding issues of social justice which I feel strongly about, but I don't think of that as political, just...right. But anyway...
I am basically a left-leaner. A bit of a bleeding heart. And I have to say that the thing about those on the opposite end of the spectrum that makes me most angry, is a nasty, knee-jerk belief that Democrats and political liberals are unpatriotic. It's mean-spiritedness at it's most mean-spirited. The assumption that if someone doesn't believe the same things that you believe then they don't love our country is ignorant and dangerous. And there's a condescending attitude that if you are anti-war, then you don't "support our troops". What the what?! How could you be more "supportive" of them than wanting them to get the hell out of a war and come home? I believe that being "anti-war" is the only Christian choice, how can you follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, the greatest pacifist of all time, and support any war? It's completely illogical.
I am ridiculously patriotic. I love my country. I think there are areas in which things could improve. But I am a firm believer that it's the best country in the world, and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. And our freedom to express our opinions as to where/how things could be improved is one of the most important elements that makes our country great. Maybe I am this way because I was raised by a daddy who was a veteran of WWII, a great one from the "Greatest Generation", a time when America truly saved the world's collective butt.
I love our flag. I love our armed forces. I love our national anthem. It's funny, just this morning Jude and I were talking about a report he's writing on The War of 1812, and we started discussing "The Star-Spangled Banner", which Francis Scott Key wrote during that war.
So, it was the Battle of Baltimore, and Key was watching from this
ship, and he knew that if the US flag was gone and had been destroyed,
then that meant the British had won the battle.
(getting more animated)
So all through the night of the battle, every time there was "the rockets
red glare" or some "bombs bursting in air" he would look to see that
"our flag was still there"!
(he already knows this because he read it in a book)
(starting to get teary)
And when he saw in "the dawn's early light" that "our flag was still
there", then he...he...sniff...knew that it was still...sniff...still...
Mom. Why are you crying?
I'm not actually crying, I'm just emotional because he knew...sniff...
Mom, this is embarrassing.
(starting to actually cry and need to blow her nose)
He knew it was still the "land of the free and the home of the brave"!
And we still are. We still are. Sniff.
Jude shakes his head and gets his mother a tissue.
On Memorial Day, this past Monday, I had the immense privilege of singing Verdi's Requiem with my church choir, together with five other choirs, a full orchestra, and four soloists from the LA Opera. It was a stunning experience.
Any of y'all who have been paying attention around here should remember that last year on Memorial Day weekend, we traveled to New York and performed Mozart's Requiem at Carnegie Hall. As far as I know, the timing of that concert had been kind of random, that's when the Carnegie people scheduled us. But before we went on, our choral director/maestro, Joe, had a revelation. We were singing a requiem, which is a mass for the repose of the dead, on Memorial Day! It was perfect.
So Joe developed a plan to produce a different requiem, Giuseppe Verdi's Messa da Requiem, at our church in Hollywood, on Memorial Day as an actual...memorial. He has been working his butt off for a whole year and damn if he didn't make it happen.
We were so good! Worth all that rehearsal! And the soloists were breathtaking. Verdi's Requiem is one of the most dramatic pieces of music ever written, combining the drama of opera with the thrill of a great symphony. The proceeds went to the Wounded Warrior Project, and we managed to get a huge crowd. Really successful.
Joe also connected with an organization called Portraits of the Fallen, a group which recruits local artists to create portraits of Southern California service men and women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. During the last movement of the requiem, the "Libera Me", they showed a slide show of the portraits. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Here's a video my friend Foster made of the slide show. The soprano soloist, Stacey Tappan is amazing...
So many faces. So many families who lost someone. The good news for sentimental patriot me is that we couldn't see the screen from the risers where we were singing, or I wouldn't have been able to get through it.
It was really beautiful, and I am blown away by Joe's vision that put it all together. This lovely evening that brought together musicians from all over Southern California, a truly diverse group from all races and religions and ages and sexual orientations and both ends of the political spectrum , who came together to celebrate through music the lives of those who died serving this country we all love.
Share your spin!
Highlight the code.
Copy to your HTML.
Et voila! Linked!