[Editor’s Note: What follows is a Night Before Christmas-inspired poem I originally posted three years ago in anticipation of July 4th, though I’ve edited a few lines and made some administrative updates. Happy 4th, everyone!]
‘Tis the Thursday before the 4th of July
and all through my street flags are set out to fly.
We’ve done all the prepping that patriots do,
with this year’s fiesta well within view.
The pig has been ordered, the smoker tracked down,
on loan from the frat guys who live across town.
That porker’s on ice at the butcher, but soon
will make up a feast that lasts all afternoon.
The kegs have been scouted, the charcoal is bought,
the buns, plates and cups all successfully sought.
We’ve even located a table for pong
(hey — just ’cause we’re thirty, that don’t make it wrong).
My team U.S.A. jersey’s hanging with care,
preparing to bare pasty arms and chest hair
with additional feelings of pride for our play
in the World Cup and things that Tim Howard could save.
But something’s amiss … what can it be?
I know that I made sure to R.S.V.P.
Got my camouflage hat and tri-color balloons…
OH SNAP! The music! We need us some tunes!
I need to crank up the Ameri-swag quick,
but where should I turn? Toby Keith is a dick,
and Miley is partying, but who can tell why?
(OK, I’m obsessed with that song, I can’t lie.)
There has to be music that rings pure and true
when I think of the spirit of red, white and blue.
So I scour my iTunes collection, bar none,
leaving no stone unturned, and no song unspun.
And then in the very last place I would look —
the perfectest verse with perfectest hook!
But this just can’t be — a song for the 4th
that’s sung by K’naan, our friend from the north?!?
That’s right — he’s Canadian! Somalian too,
his formative days spent in Mogadishu.
But being a foreigner shouldn’t detract
from the fact that his song “Wavin’ Flag” is jam packed
with the message we’re coming together to send:
That freedom and justice will win in the end.
So raise up your bottles and barbecue tongs
to this most unlikely but fitting of songs
and the two-hundred-thirty-ninth time we can say
“Suck it!” to England! It’s Independence Day!
K’naan — “Wavin’ Flag” [Spotify/iTunes]