4th of July Memories
This song never mentions the words “4th of July” but is far and away the most famous song with that title.
The point being, of course, is that everything in the song immediately calls to mind the 4th of July for the singer.
There are a few times I can say for sure where I was on the 4th of July. Giving up on getting to the top of Quandary Peak because there was too much snow, the day after seeing fireworks at the Rockies game (the 4th was Sunday, with a day game and no fireworks.) Unexpectedly seeing a Braves game, and the fireworks after, in 1995 with my cousin. The earliest was 1982, I was at Camp Broadstone, and the 4th was on the middle weekend and the whole camp went to a community celebration in the afternoon. It seems like this was in Boone, which would suggest State Farm Fields, but I’m told that didn’t exist yet, so I don’t know where we were. But there was a one mile race, three times around a big field, the first race I ever ran outside field day or against adults, and I won. 5:52, but who knows how accurate the distance was. Or whether it was even the 4th – it fell on a Sunday in 1982, and given that I was listening to American Top 40 on a transistor radio I was carrying around, it is more likely that all the festivities were Saturday the 3rd. That doesn’t make much of song.
In the video, Bruce Springsteen is 28. This was possibly before I’d ever heard of him and certainly six years before I became a huge fan. The lyrics from the entire “Born in the U.S.A.” album, some handwritten and some typed, along with discussion of what they meant were my 11th grade poetry project. That may sound like an affront to both poetry and Springsteen, but I was way ahead of most teenagers and a really clueless president in grasping that they were not happy songs. I got a good grade, though it should be noted this was not a very demanding teacher.
I stumbled across the video without having any plan for a blog post. But I was really struck by how young Bruce Springsteen is here. I’m 50% older than that now. Through reunions on both sides of my family this weekend I saw a lot of pictures of people who are a LOT older now than they used to be. As long as I don’t look in the mirror, or think about how my knees feel, I can manage to avoid that fate. But for the rest of you, you will be older next 4th of July. And a lot older for some of the ones after that. Try to make it all count.