The fourth of July is the official birthday of the United States.
The American fight for Independence was hatched in Boston pubs and undertaken by a cadre of locals. Over taxed and under represented was the big beef and secretive plotting led to a Declaration of Independence from merry old England who was licking wounds from European wars and needed raw materials and taxes from America to pay for debts incurred.
There was fighting, men died, a Constitution was written, leaders got elected.
These days the metaphor for America is an aging Uncle Sam who sports a long white beard, wears clothes made out of a flag , has a top hat of red, white, and blue, a firm grip on your American credit card, and a hand in the affairs of other countries all over the world.
This is an older group present tonight, a group with a collective history.
This wild bunch has seen the Civil Rights movement, Kennedy assassination, Moon Walk, World War 2, Vietnam, Watts, Desert Storm, 2008 Financial Collapse, Government Shutdowns, the fall of Russia, Castro, Cell phones , Computers, Multiple Recessions, Gay Marriage, Food Stamps, Medicaid, TARP, TSA , Sex changes, Drones, Watergate, LSD, Disneyland.
Birthdays are good, once a year. They give a chance to pause, look back, look ahead.
What America says it is, and what it is, is a growing enigma.
It makes moments of peace, like this, more poignant.