Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day, America!

I am an American. And though there are a lot of things that happen in my country that I don't agree with, I am still proud to be an American and live in this great country.

This Independence Day, I wanted to share a few thoughts.

When I was a kid, we would celebrate this holiday with fireworks in the front yard, sparklers, little things I liked to call "rotten apples" (because they looked like apple cores when they finally finished spinning around), fountains, snappers/poppers, and the like. One year, we even had firecrackers, courtesy of my grandpa. Those were fun.

We used to have a big family camp out in Grandpa's backyard, complete with bbq over his homemade stone grill and outdoor oven. For breakfast, they'd pull out the portable grills and make pancakes, cook up eggs, bacon and sausage. And each family slept out on the back lawn in their respective tents. We'd wake early to the sound of a cannon being fired by the city, and Grandpa talking over the HAM radio with his buddies. We'd even have outdoor movies on a projection screen Grandma kept in the backroom.

As I grew up, these traditions began to fall by the wayside. Our families became too big to share the backyard, and cousins and their families started traditions of their own. City ordinances changes so that we couldn't fire off our own little fireworks and we started just going to the big shows in town.  And if we timed things right, we got two fireworks shows because we lived right on the border between the two.

And there was, of course, the patriotic parades down Main Street, with firetrucks and lots of candy thrown to the spectators. Among other freebies. And, I believe there were events at the park, fairs and the like. Always fun.

Since moving away from home, celebrating the 4th has been different. I live in a major city now. Going to a fireworks show can be a hassle, with tons of traffic and events going on all over the place. And seeing people in parking lots parked out in their lawn chairs, chugging beer and who knows what.... Advertisements for beer and other alcoholic beverages.

I think it's kind of sad how we have gone down to such base means to celebrate our Independence. So, for the sake of those who helped secure our freedom, I offer this, Thank you. Thank you for fighting for our rights and freedoms. Thank you for being willing to give up your lives for what we celebrate and enjoy today. And Thank you to those spouses, family, and friends who sacrifice time and the lives of their loved ones so that we can enjoy the liberty and freedom that we have.

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