There was the rocket’s red glare,
And white contrails filled the sky
From north to south and back again,
And screaming pinwheels too
But there was more, and grander wonder to behold.
There was a table set deep and wide with joy,
And arms spread wide to say
There were children running in the grass
And men laughing hearty about the long-necked bottles in their hand
And grandmas fussing about the chocolate
On the cheeks of little boys and girls.
Because we assembled,
Patriots and immigrants and two lassies from Japan,
We all came and reveled in our differences,
Yankee, Johnny, wide-eyed fearful newbie,
Old hands and tender feet, 12-year-old boys disguised as men of letters,
Lovers new and old, we gathered
At that table built on sacrifice and offering,
And we were blessed by something greater than its parts.
We became a communion of the not always saintly
Made rich by love set free.
George R. Pasley
June 30, 2021