The Farr Side: In today's world, music brings us together

·3 min read

If you turn on the TV, you can see there's a great deal of unrest in the world today. It’s not only in "other places." It’s right here, too. And it’s terribly sad to me.

We are the greatest country in the world, despite our shortfalls. We have become a country so divided that serious topics continue to keep us at bay. Whatever happened to common ground?

Guns and mass shootings, energy, climate, social unrest, sex, technology, race, and so on and so forth, divide us. Last week’s Supreme Court ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade seems like the final straw. But it’s not. It looks as if they are poised to change their minds on a few more topics that almost seemed settled.

We are supposed to be the land of the free and home of the brave. A quick view of the news and you might question that. I know I sometimes do. We are better than this, and we can do better than this!

This weekend, we celebrate Independence Day. It's about more than fireworks, cookouts, parades, parties and family get-togethers. It’s about our freedom and how people have sacrificed so much so we can be free. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is something we all are entitled to have in this country. Not just a select few.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my nearly 50 years, it’s that people are different. They come in different shapes and sizes, colors, creed and races. Some may think like you, and some may not. They eat differently. They may have differing religious beliefs. You will know wealthy people and poor ones. (And, if you’re lucky you will know the poor ones who are wealthy – there is a difference). And, you are going to know people who might love someone of the same sex or a person of a different race.

Our diversity makes us great and, ultimately, stronger. Our differences can make us whole. So, why do we continue to falter? We should celebrate our differences and, in the process, we might learn that we are not as different as we assume. I’m willing to bet there is more that unites us than divides us.

Music long has been a healer. I’m sure your 4th of July festivities will involve some music. I’ve been to enough concerts to know that music is a good avenue for common ground. People from all walks of life can put their differences aside to enjoy a good song.

My playlist this year will include some obvious tracks, including “Born in the USA” (Bruce Springsteen), “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.” (John Mellencamp), “Living in America” (James Brown), “America” (Neil Diamond), “Party in the U.S.A.” (Miley Cyrus), “America the Beautiful” (Ray Charles), “Firework” (Katy Perry) and “God Bless The USA” (Lee Greenwood).

It also will include Whitney Houston’s astounding rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Celine Dion’s interpretation of “God Bless America." Both tracks make the hairs on my arms stand up. And, what about “My Shot” from “Hamilton”? It’s such a great song.

A few other songs are equally as important this year: “This Land Is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie), “Color Me America” (Dolly Parton), “Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver) and “Imagine” (John Lennon).

Happy Birthday, USA!

David T. Farr is a Journal correspondent. Email him at 

David T. Farr
David T. Farr

This article originally appeared on Sturgis Journal: The Farr Side-Independence Day-music