Maybe it was the unfortunate decision for these five individuals to hold hands (no maybe about it). But credit should go to Joe Biden. Even an aging Protestant has to admit that the Vice-President, the only Catholic or non-Protestatnt on the stage, knew best how to behave upon hearing a verse of"The Battle Hymn of the Republic" sung by a choir at the memorial service for the five slain Dallas police officers.
As the video below displays, the goofy white guy is joyously swaying to the words of the great Civil War abolitionist poem written by Julie Ward Howe to the tune of John Brown's Body. So, too- albeit with more restraint and rhythm- is President Obama. First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Bush, seemingly appropriately amused by Mr. Bush, are allowing him to perform his little dance at the funeral service.
Vice-President Biden gave the hymn the respect it deserves. He can be forgiven for appearing uncomfortable, inasmuch as he was in the presence of a former two-term President who was smiling, almost laughing, while getting a big kick out of a song whose original lyrics were the following:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightining of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
His day is marching on.
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
"As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
Since God is marching on."
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him!
be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.
As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on.
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