Despite the atrocities that this nation has committed and of how the US government came to own the USA, the 4th of July – Independence Day – remains my favorite holiday. Even though the way that the US came to be is not readily acknowledged in the detail that it deserves, I am glad that I have US citizenship. Perhaps this gratitude is due to the upbringing as a military brat, my knowledge of how good we actually do have it in the USA compared to other countries, or maybe it’s just a matter of national pride that many people feel for whatever their nation of origin may be. I am thankful that the people in this Nation have some power, even in a capitalistic patriarchy democratic republic. We vote at the ballot and everyday in our decisions to buy or not buy one thing or another. We also have the right to voice our opinions about our country and to suggest changes to our government representatives.
I think that my love of the 4th has a great deal to do with what I associate with this holiday – Hoffman hot dogs on the BBQ, mom’s coleslaw, family & friends gathering on warm summer days, ice-cold lemonade, and fireworks.
Whether I viewed fireworks at Rhein-Main AFB in Germany, along the banks of the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, or multiple displays driving back from DC to Harrisburg, PA, the display always make me smile. I associate music with these memories and with the US Independence Day festivities. Many times, the music has the greatest impact. You know the sort – the tunes that are generally broadcasted along with your local fireworks display: “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Phillips Sousa (which I also refer to are the Berenstain Bear’s Theme), “My Country ’tis of Thee” by Samuel Francis Smith, and even – my all time fav – “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood.
So wherever you are this Independence Day, I hope that you are safe, well-fed, and surrounded by people you care about and who care about you. Perhaps you’ll even allow for a moment of silence to recall all that has had to happen – all those who died needlessly to acquire this land and those who died in battle to keep it – to make this nation what it is today and to give it hope for a brighter tomorrow. It’s a complex history, but it’s worth recalling and paying tribute to. Afterall, that is what the US Independence Day is all about.