Monday, July 4, 2011

The 4th of July

Tonight I was asked by a dear friend when my obsession and deep love of the 4th of July began.  As I thought about my response, I realized that my love for all things related to our nations birthday has deep roots and evokes in me strong emotions.  It isn't just the fireworks that make this holiday special, though they are a pretty incredible perk, it is so much more.  For me what makes this day unique is what it brings out in people.  It brings people together in celebration, though not a celebration that requires presents.  It is day deep into the summer when the lightning bugs are swarming back yards, grills have been lit, friends and family have gathered together and somewhere in my past or in a neighbors backyard a rousing game of whiffleball is being played.  For as long as I can remember July 4th has been celebrated in a similar fashion.  When  I was young we would gather at the Griffith's house on Golf Club for what to me was a day packed full of anything children from age 6 to 65 could enjoy!  As I got older and traditions changed, one thing remained the same, the gathering of loved ones.  For anyone who knows me, they know how much joy I get from looking around a table overflowing with conversation and laughter and knowing that in one way or another, whether by birth or friendly adoption, each person there is family.  This is what is at the heart of my love for this holiday.
To answer the second part of my friend's question, regarding my love of the America flag, that too is a love deeply rooted in my firm love of and faith in this great nation.  I find so many times in life and in this country we look towards the things we don't have or the things we wish we could change.  I find when I look at a billowing America flag, I can only think of those things for which I am grateful and the sacrifices that came before me to make all my freedoms possible.  The beauty of the flag, for me, comes in all that it represents.  How so many people, from all walks of life, can come together, learn from each, and love each other is a unique blessing that so many people around the world do not enjoy.  I still tear up every time I hear the national anthem, I am humbled constantly by the sacrifices of our military men, women, and their families, and I am truly grateful to have been born in a country that has come so far and is yet still evolving to be better.  That is what I see in our flag, the hope of a nation and the promise of a better tomorrow.
Today was not unlike so many July 4th celebrations before.  I spent the day with family and friends, I laughed like a child as I watched fireworks overhead, we stuffed ourselves on  all your cookout staples and when it was time for everyone to go home, I thought how blessed I am to have these people in my life and how grateful I am to live in a country where, regardless of our many differences in lifestyle, religion, politics and belief structures, we can come together in love and friendship and see our diversities as our greatest asset!  

Happy 4th of July!

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