Tomorrow is our birthday.

The day we were “born.” The day we defined who we are as a nation: of the people, for the people, and by the people. We claimed independence in our own creation. We dedicated ourselves to the rights of all people…inalienable rights. Rights that cannot be transferred. Rights that are laws, i.e. free speech, religious beliefs, the right to own property, etc. When these RIGHTS get questioned or eroded, so does the country.
I remember the 4th of July as one of my favorite holidays. My mom would cook up a great picnic, everyone in the family would come over for the festivities, and at night we got to shoot off fireworks! I still love fireworks till this day. When I see them I am in awesome childlike delight. We never had anything too fancy… sparklers and fountains that spit silver glittery fire and things we held that shot up into the air and exploded in light up in the sky. I remember the first time I got to hold the “adult firework.” I felt proud and responsible.

My mom and dad taught us to love this country. We always had to stand and cover our hearts when the anthem played. My father, who had served in the Red Cross in World War 2, took great pride in displaying the flag outside our home. It was something to treasure that was carefully packed away after each use. I have tried very hard to pass these reverent heartfelt feelings about our country on to my daughter. It is important to continually teach the respect for a country that has lasted through every test of time.

This year, I will be flying back from visiting my family on July 4th. Part of my heart saddens at not being at a fireworks display and singing my heart out. I do not want to put away these “childish things” and think like a woman, but this year duty to the family I love so very much will take precedence. We will have some fireworks on Saturday, and my heart will explode with love that I can be there to support the people close to me. Maybe I can lead The Star Spangled Banner around the campfire.

In any case, I will continue to support this country that I love: despite her faults and challenges and disagreements. I will continue to understand that, like any good relationship, there is understanding and patience and listening and respecting and give and take that makes up this relationship with America. May her flag fly forever…the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Blessings, Dee