Today marks the home-going of many fallen U.S. soldiers. I can't think about it without getting a pit in my stomach, but there's an even bigger pit if I let myself imagine what our lives might be like today without their sacrifices!
I spent a lovely Memorial Day morning with my husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons at The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, watching a beautiful wreath-laying ceremony in the Rose Garden.
At the closing, after a solemn prayer offered by a Navy Chaplain, the Marine Band played "Going Home", followed by Taps. The soft strains of music floating through the air definitely communicated a longing and yearning for home...heaven, a final resting place.
When we got back to our house, I did a google search about this haunting piece of music...
Czech composer Antonin Dvorak's famous "Largo" theme from his New World Symphony was first performed at Carnegie Hall in 1893. "Goin' Home" was later adapted and arranged from the Largo theme by one of Dvorak's pupils, William Arms Fisher, who added his own words. Here is what Fisher said about the piece:
The Largo, with its haunting English horn solo, is the outpouring of Dvorak's own home-longing, with something of the loneliness of far-off prairie horizons, the faint memory of the red-man's bygone days, and a sense of the tragedy of the black-man as it sings in his "spirituals." Deeper still it is a moving expression of that nostalgia of the soul all human beings feel. That the lyric opening theme of the Largo should spontaneously suggest the words 'Goin' home, goin' home' is natural enough, and that the lines that follow the melody should take the form of a negro spiritual accords with the genesis of the symphony.
-- William Arms Fisher, Boston, July 21, 1922.
Goin' home, goin' home, I'm a goin' home;
Quiet-like, some still day, I'm jes' goin' home.
It's not far, jes' close by,
Through an open door;
Work all done, care laid by,
Goin' to fear no more.
Mother's there 'spectin' me,
Father's waitin' too;
Lots o' folks gather'd there,
All the friends I knew,
Morning star lights the way,
restless dream all done.
Shadows gone, break of day
real life just begun.
There's no break, there's no end,
Jes'a livin' on;
Wide awake, with a smile
Goin' on and on.