Saturday, July 2, 2011


Don't you love being an American? Doesn't your heart swell with pride when you see the flags lined up on a parade route, the county square and the veteran's cemetery? What are your thoughts when the night sky lights up with fireworks?

Independence Day usually falls on a warm day in July with a clear evening for celebration - just right for flying the stars and stripes, joining a parade and enjoying a barbeque. Does everyone's menu include hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad? How about iced tea and popsicles? The perfect topper, of course, is the fireworks!

Over many years, Independence Day has been celebrated by my family because it is one of those benchmark dates in our family's history. You see, my husband (who was in the Navy at the time) and I met on July 3rd. I won't tell you the year. Before that evening with our friends ended, my future husband invited me to join him to watch the fireworks display the following evening. I said 'yes' and we were together ever after. OK - the year was 1950 and we were married the following year.

Our family has attended fireworks displays or watched them from our back yards in Illinois and in Arkansas. We celebrated most of them with family and friends at barbeques with hot dogs, hamburgers and potato salad. These past few years the area I reside in celebrates Independence with a 2-3 day schedule of activities called Red, White and Blue held June 24-26 in 2011. There are, among other activities, a street parade, auto show, rodeo, music and art festivals and a turtle race, topped off with a fireworks display on the beautiful ASU college campus where the fireworks are more impressive every year.

Like everything else in the economy, the cost of Red, White and Blue is expensive and although local businesses contribute generously to the event, attendees purchase lottery tickets for a 'one-of'a-kind' pendant, designed and created by a local jeweler and valued, this year, at $7,000. We purchased a bunch of tickets. We did not win the pendant but the fireworks gave us a spectacular return for our donation. We will be flying our Red, White and Blue flag of Stars and Stripes on July 3rd and 4th. We may even invite a few friends over as we cook up some hot dogs and carve a tasty watermelon for the occasion. Let Freedom Ring!

God Bless our Patriot soldiers from 1776 - and all the Minutemen (and women) who have guarded our independence and freedom to this day. Don't you love being an American? Does your heart swell with pride when you see the American flag flying? Does the Fourth of July, with fireworks bursting in air, hold special meaning for you? Tell me how you celebrate Independence Day and Freedom. I'd like to know.

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