A Glorious Fourth with Garrison Keillor


Quote from "Laying on Our Backs, Looking Up at the Stars"
Sing-Along Lyrics for July 4 Show

Laying on Our Backs Looking Up at the Stars


ON JULY 4, 1988, Garrison Keillor was on the cover of Newsweek magazine. The edition featured a three-page essay by Keillor called "Laying on Our Backs Looking Up at the Stars." In it he talks about the United States, the Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, and the country's immigrants:
Everyone makes fun of New York cabdrivers who can't speak English: they're heroes. To give up your country is the hardest thing a person can do: to leave the old familiar places and ship out over the edge of the world to America and learn everything over again different than you learned as a child, learn the new language that you will never be so smart or funny in as in your true language. It takes years to start to feel semi-normal.

And yet people still come - from Russia, Vietnam, and Cambodia and Laos, Ethiopia, Iran, Haiti, Korea, Cuba, Chile, and they come on behalf of their children, and they come for freedom. Not for our land (Russia is as beautiful), not for our culture (they have their own, thank you), not for our standard of living (it frankly ain't that great), not for our system of government (they don't know about it, may not even agree with it), but for freedom. They are heroes who make an adventure on our behalf, showing us by their struggle how precious beyond words freedom is, and if we knew their stories, we could not keep back the tears.



Sing-Along Lyrics for July 4 Show
God of Our Fathers | The Stars and Stripes Forever


God of Our Fathers
Words by Daniel C. Roberts, music by George W. Warren.
God of Our Fathers was first heard at St. Thomas' Church in New York City in 1892. The words were written by Roberts for an Independence Day celebration in Brandon, Vermont.

God of our fathers, Whose almighty hand
Leads forth in beauty all the starry band
Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies,
Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.


Thy love divine hath led us in the past;
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay;
Thy word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.


From war's alarms, from deadly pestilence,
Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense;
Thy true religion in our hearts increase,
Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.


Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way,
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine,
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.


The Stars and Stripes Forever
Words and Music by John Philip Sousa (Copyright 1898 by the John Church Company.)

Let martial note in triumph float,
And liberty extend its mighty hand,
A flag appears, `mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true,
Its folds protect no tyrant crew,
The red and white and starry blue,
Is Freedom's shield and hope.

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Chorus:
Hurrah for the flag of the free,
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The Banner of the Right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor,
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might, and by their right, it waves forever!

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak,
The never-ending watchword of our land.
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right,
Sing out for Union and its might,
Oh, patriotic sons!

Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Chorus:
Hurrah for the flag of the free,
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The Banner of the Right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor,
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might, and by their right, it waves forever!


Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

Old Sweet Songs

Lovingly selected from the earliest archives of A Prairie Home Companion, this heirloom collection represents the music from earliest years of the now legendary show: 1974–1976. With songs and tunes from jazz pianist Butch Thompson, mandolin maestro Peter Ostroushko, Dakota Dave Hull and the first house band, The Powdermilk Biscuit Band (Adam Granger, Bob Douglas and Mary DuShane).

Available now»

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