Happy Fourth of July! How are you celebrating America’s independence?
Perhaps you celebrated this past weekend or are looking forward to seeing the fireworks tonight at the Cumming Fairgrounds. We are so lucky to live in a community that has such a fun family venue.
Our children loved this holiday when they were young. They loved the trip to Alabama to purchase fireworks with their dad. I never went along — mostly because paying so much money for something you are going to blow up (literally) and only enjoy for a few minutes was too painful for me. I was better off not knowing how much money Paul spent on fireworks.
To celebrate the Fourth of July, we almost always had friends and/or family over for a big cookout. The grill was always fired up — sometimes the smoker as well. There were always children running around — running through the sprinkler, splashing in a baby pool or sliding down a slip and slide — all the while, swatting at those pesky mosquitos.
There were always popsicles for the children and frozen adult beverages for the grownups. Sparklers were everywhere and the music blared. Once it was dark, the fireworks show began. The kids would all sit on the deck and the guys shot off the fireworks while the moms made sure the kids stayed where it was safe.
One year when our children were young we stayed in a hotel on Lake Lanier. We watched the fireworks over the lake from the roof top — that was a spectacular show. It was also nice to not have to drive home after the show — although staying in one room with four young children is not exactly a relaxing way to end the night.
There are so many divisive things in the news — in many ways our country seems divided on everything. This day should remind us of the amazing things our country stands for. We are so blessed to live in a country that stands for freedom, independence and the ability to disagree with others freely.
When you look at so many countries in the world, you see people who are not free to disagree with their leaders — people who don’t have a voice when it comes to how their country governs or the decisions it makes.
I recently met a young woman from Vietnam. She came to America with her parents as a young person. After the long process to become American citizens, she told me how proud her entire family was and is to be Americans.
Two years ago, she and her husband bought a business and now work six days a week — often working 12 hours a day. I asked her if she felt overworked and exhausted — her grueling schedule made me tired just hearing about it.
She told me they love America and the opportunity it has afforded them — she said she felt blessed she had the energy to work as hard as they do. Wow. What an inspiration and a reminder to us to count our blessings.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, let’s all remember those who sacrificed so much for our freedom.
The patriots who fought for our independence all of those years ago, as well as the brave men and women who have fought for our country and our allies in so many wars — so many of us have parents, grandparents, spouses, sons and daughters who have served our country with honor.
Instead of thinking about what divides us, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on what unites us.
Happy Fourth of July to all of our readers.