A Day of Celebration and Fun
While there’s no doubt the Fourth of July is a special holiday for Americans, it’s unfortunate many don’t understand the reason why. Do you?
Several years ago during a children’s sermon at Franklin Baptist Church, Pastor Joe Thomas asked the children what the Fourth of July meant to them. The responses were varied and different with some children shouting out fireworks, fire trucks, parades, fun, hanging out with friends, flying the flag, freedom.
Local author and writer, Evelyn Looney, enjoyed the 4th of July parade in Mocksville, NC, so much this year she shared on Facebook. After reading her account, I’m thinking next year I want to go. Printed with permission, here’s Evelyn’s account:
Enjoyed going to the Mocksville, NC Tractor Parade. Amazing how many different kinds of tractors are in the parade: BIG, little, old, new and everything in between. One stood out that made me smile: the tractor was painted a pretty shade of pink, even the wheel rims. . . and was driven by a cute, confident, young lady who drove like she had a lot of practice doing the real thing. The old guys in bibbed overalls made me think of my Dad. He died just a few days after he attended a 4th of July celebration. It always pleased him when they recognized the veterans.
It wasn’t until late afternoon that I noticed a photo Linda Campbell Morrow posted of her husband, Bob, riding through their neighborhood waving the American flag. When I asked Linda the circumstances of the photo, little did I expect the heartwarming story she shared. All I can say is I’m glad I asked.
Linda said Bob woke up early July 4th thinking it would be a great idea to ride around the neighborhood on a bicycle waving the American flag. While on the surface this appeared to be a simple act of patriotism, it’s so much more because the American flag he was waving holds special significance to the family.
Linda explained how in 2009 a neighborhood friend was deployed to Afghanistan leaving behind three children. Two of the children were boys. While deployed, the friend asked Bob if he would watch over the boys. Reassuring his friend he would be glad to, during the coming months Bob spent time with the boys, taking them fishing, playing ball, etc. On July 3rd of 2009, Bob received a package from Afghanistan. Inside was an American flag with the explanation that it had flown over the American headquarters in Kabul in honor of Bob’s birthday.
Excited and surprise, Linda said, The very next day that flag flew high at our neighborhood parade. Every year since, we have proudly displayed that flag, remembering the sacrifices made by those who fought and continue to fight so that we may have our freedom. God bless America.
No matter how we celebrate or what our traditions are, the one common thread for the 4th of July is freedom. When asking my neighbor Randall what July 4th means to him, I wasn’t surprised when he answered, Freedom isn’t free. As a veteran who served in the Army in Germany during the Cold War, he understands sacrifice. Proud of his service, Randall said, I would do it again.
While we all agree July 4th is a special holiday, it’s sad many people don’t understand the history and why we celebrate. It goes all the way back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Wanting to be free from British rule, 56 men willingly put their lives on the line, suffering the consequence for their actions. Some were killed and called traitors, while others had their homes burned and left penniless because of their stand for freedom. Now, almost 250 years later we’re still standing on their shoulders of bravery. Yes, Randall, freedom isn’t free.
Even though some think America is broken, America’s spirit is alive and well. If you don’t believe me, just listen to the voices of those who came before. In the walls and halls of all the buildings in Washington, DC, you can find it. In the voices of the military, you can find it. And, in the faces of the children on the Fourth of July, you can find it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The spirit of America. Now that’s worth a celebration, don’t you agree?
What are you doing to keep the spirit of America alive? Leave a comment below, message on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org