An Independence Day Thank You!
By Stephanie Burke
Independence Day has become as synonymous with cookouts and hot dogs as Thanksgiving has with turkeys. My best July 4th memories have been spent doing just that: cooking out enjoying hotdogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and friends. The afternoon spent in the sun enjoying good food and conversation in anticipation of hearing that 1812 overture accompanied by enough fireworks to light up the night sky.
The king of all summer nights is July 4th. People everywhere are inspired on this night to brave the mosquitoes and enjoy the summer night air. As a child, it is almost like having New Year’s Eve in July. Parents everywhere let their kids stay up extra late. Then just when the little ones can’t take the anticipation anymore the night air is broken with a loud colorful noise. When I was young, we use to get to enjoy the fireworks with an ice cream sundae. Of course, I realize now that it was probably the sugar from that sundae that enabled me to keep my eyes open long enough to see the fireworks.
Now that I’m older, I can’t help but think about the true meaning of this day while I gaze at the fireworks piercing the night. Maybe it comes with age, or maybe it is a sign of the times, but I find my thoughts wandering to those who are fighting for our country. Those brave men and women enable us to have such a day. I can’t help but feel for the family’s whose loved ones were not at the family cookout this year. The mother whose son or daughter won’t get to enjoy a sundae; the wife whose husband won’t be there to hold her as they look up at the sky; and the daughter whose daddy isn’t there to cover her ears from the loud booms of the fireworks.
We all have our little traditions that help us to enjoy our Independence Day. However, while we are enjoying our barbeques with family and friends, it is important that we remember the true meaning of this day…freedom. As defined by Merriam-Webster.com Independence is “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others”. We were granted our independence because brave men and women fought, and continue to fight for it. Be sure to remember the true meaning of this July 4th holiday and incorporate thanks into your July 4th tradition!