Tag Archives: Independence Day

A Moment of Beauty

A simple thing of beauty.

A few days ago, my daughter bought a pack of sparklers to share following a family celebration held on a warm evening in our backyard.  She insisted I take one in hand which she then lit for me, and watched as I held it on our deck in the near dark.  I was hesitant, only because I had never actually held one before.  But when my sweet daughter offered, I couldn’t refuse.

I had never held a sparkler in my hand before.  I’m a grown woman, just turned forty-nine, for the first and only time, thank you, but I have always harbored a small fear of those tiny sparks of fire, undoubtedly left over from childhood.  My parents, bless them, were like many, slightly overprotective, and instilled in me a heavy dose of caution in respect to campfires, matches, and by extension, fireworks.

Oh we used to go to the city shows when I was little.  I remember sitting on the tailgate of our pickup truck or standing on a hill or in a parking lot, wherever we could find the best spot to see the fireworks shows the city would produce.  I would stay close to my parents, ears firmly covered with my hands, while we watched and oohed and aahed at the vivid colors on display.

Later, I recall watching firework celebrations with my own kids, though larger crowds in our adopted home city often made actually getting to a show and finding room to watch more awkward or problematic.  We did manage though a few trips to see fireworks from the Reds stadium downtown, and once on a memorable family vacation to Florida.

I stood and watched that little sparkler as the long stick burst into crackling flashes, a ball of light similar to the head of a dandelion, ready to be released into the wind.  I held on tight to the end as it burned down, a personal firework at close range, though without the bright colors and loud boom that accompanies the larger ones.

How could something so beautiful, so innocent, hold so much secret meaning.  Though it lasted only a few moments, that ephemeral flare was a reminder that life is fleeting, and deserves our full attention.  We should make the most of the time we have; as families, as communities, as human beings.

In this day and age, fear and uncertainty are plagues that haunt us all.  It is more important than ever that we take the time to see beauty, to enjoy the little moments, to share in new experiences when we have the opportunity.  We need to live in the moment, like most of us have always aspired to do anyway.

I have you have some special moments of your own as we move into this weekend, a special holiday for those of us in the U.S., as we celebrate Independence Day on Friday.  Make the most of it!

Amy

Happy Independence Day!

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Happy Fourth of July!  Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Tomorrow is officially the day we celebrate our Independence in the United States, but the festivities have already started!  (In my neighborhood, we’ve been hearing firecrackers go off in the evening all week!)

On this most important of national holidays, we recognize that our country, despite our differences, our problems, and our political debates, we all share a core of ideals and values.  We acknowledge that though we are far from perfect, we still have such potential, along with the freedom to choose our own destinies.

Tomorrow, and this week, is the perfect time to set aside our petty arguments and embrace that which makes us all Americans.  Take a moment to remember that we have servicemen and women overseas even now, sacrificing to keep our values and our safety intact.

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Happy Independence Day! Photo by Aaron Schwartz on Pexels.com

However you choose to celebrate, by going out to one of the many parades or fireworks shows around the nation, or by just staying home and grilling out in the backyard, I hope this Fourth is your best yet!

 

A Mixture of Values

As I rush about making preparations for another Independence Day barbeque, I find myself considering all the various meanings that so many people attach to this most American of holidays.  July 4th is not just a red letter day on the calendar, a day many of us are granted a paid holiday, or an excuse to display our national flag on the front of homes, offices, and lampposts in public areas.  This is officially the day we celebrate our declaration of independence from our colonial roots.  As with most holidays, though, the ways and reasons we “party” has grown and taken on new life as the day holds a variety of meanings as divergent as the individuals that make up this country.

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Each individual may have a different favorite aspect of today.  Photo by AndYaDontStop on Foter.com / CC BY

Food, Fun and Family.

For many, the Fourth of July is all about spending time with loved ones-outdoors in someone’s backyard or at a nearby park, or even in a pool as the sun reaches its zenith; and of course, the food.  Anything and everything that can be cooked on a grill, accompanied by salads, watermelon, and desserts served ala mode to beat the heat.  While the food settles in over-full stomachs, the kids may run around with sparklers (have parental supervision, please!) and grownups rouse to challenge each other to games like corn hole and baseball.  The perfect ending to a perfect Fourth is fireworks, either set off in backyards or a nearby professional show.

Entertainment.

Many citizens will take advantage of their community celebrations today.  A mass of parades, fireworks shows and concerts, many free, are available throughout this week, easy to locate from local listings online or in newspapers.   Participants should be prepared for sitting in traffic, and expect to share grassy areas with plenty of others seeking the best spots for viewing.

Concerts in the park are a welcome venue, often accompanied by local food vendors who compete for space to have patrons sample their wares.  For those who do not wish to venture out, there are always televised events that showcase the beauty of the lights without the need to weather sweltering temperatures and the loud “boom” of the displays.

4th of July San Francisco Fireworks 2013
A fitting tribute to the day.  Photo by davidyuweb on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Celebration and Remembrance.

This is a day to honor and remember servicemen and women who have, and continue to, fight and work to ensure our safety and freedoms.  Today we honor the values our nation was built on, and the belief that despite our differences and issues, we still have a strong future ahead.  Today, above all days, we stand up and demonstrate our national pride and the certainty that, no matter our politics, religion, or ethnicity, we are all citizens of a free country.

God Bless America!

Amy