by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. July 4th, Independence Day commenced when
From this signal phrase, Godlike in its ringing clarity and unanswerable in its
For on July 4, 1776 a handful of righteous people, fortified by the mightiest ideas on
For such a grand event a grand sound is needed. And so I give you one of the
Go now to any search engine and find this stirring melody and its sharply etched words, a
Independence Day, July 4, 1962, Illinois.
Right from its first celebration Independence Day was meant to be the most
A village in Downers Grove and Lisle Townships, a model of post war
Picture for a moment a metropolis of some 12,000 souls (since grown to nearly
Downers Grove (the lack of the expected apostrophe a quirk the town fathers were
How abolitionists had found zealous adherents in its free soil.
How there were houses still extant that served as stops on the Underground Railroad
How 119 soldiers served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
How the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad was extended from Aurora to
It was these people who were now busily at work on what was to be not only my last
It is achingly clear in my mind’s eye….
… the civic worthies (including my grandfather) gathered on the reviewing stand on Main
Then the bandmaster, resplendent in Ruritanian uniform, raised his baton to signify America
One era ends, another begins, this is the way of people and the nations which reflect them.
Just days after Independence Day, my father removed his family from Downers Grove to
We need them so today. And cannot be truly great again, a cynosure for a world that needs