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By Francis X. Maier, The Catholic Thing, June 6, 2023

Francis X. Maier is a senior fellow in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The strip of Pennsylvania that meanders along the Delaware River is soaked in American history.  Quakers founded our borough of Yardley in 1682.  Washington crossed the Delaware just five miles north of our home.  Trenton, where the Hessians had such a bad morning after Christmas in 1776, and not just from hangovers, is a 10-minute ride from our driveway.  Princeton battleground in New Jersey is just another 15 minutes away, at most.  So our area is thick with reminders of the Revolution.

These weeks of early summer from Memorial Day (May) through Flag Day (June) to Independence Day (July) are redolent of patriotic zeal.  At our parish, after our Mass celebrating Pentecost, the congregation sang “America the Beautiful.” The voices were full-throated and sincere. The next day, on Memorial Day, we watched the town parade from the VFW post at the end of our block, along with hundreds of neighbors who lined the street.

Local parades can be Raggedy Ann affairs; long on enthusiasm, short on glamor.  But watching Korean and Vietnam War veterans salute the colors as if they were 20-somethings again, eyes filled with memory and emotion, while re-enactors in Revolutionary War garb march past with their fifes and drums. . .well, it’s a window on something sacred.  A thread weaving together generations. …

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