Thursday, July 4, 2013

The 4th of July

Living in Colorado, Independence Day falls in the middle of the summer; growing up it heralded the beginning of summer and freedom from school for 2 ½ whole months.
As a child, The 4th of July meant traditions, connections, and celebrations. One of the traditions started several days before the 4th when Dad would gather our lawn chairs and stake out our family spot on the towns parade route. We needed the best place to catch the candy thrown from the floats as well as the rays from the morning sun.
The morning of the fourth arrived; our flag flew proudly from our front porch. My sisters and I could hardly wait to pack into our car and head downtown for the first of the day’s festivities, the parade. It snaked through town from our church (Westside Pres), under the railroad tracks, turned right, and then left onto Ridgewood Ave, down the center of town ending at Veterans Field. And that was only the beginning of the fun filled day.
There was little time after the parade before the bar-b-que that brought extended family and neighbors together. I don’t remember Dad grilling a lot in the summer; but he always did on the 4th.
As the sun descended, the whole town—it seemed—descended on Veterans Field for the concert and fireworks display. It was wonderful to lie on blankets on soft grass and ohhh and ahhh as each firework was shot into the night sky. There was always a bit of sadness as the last series of booms and lights quickly shot up and floated down one after the other. The contented smiles washed across our faces spoke of the joy of the 4th.
There is a special energy that flows through a town that embraces celebration. I’m glad I grew up in one of them.  
I knew why we celebrated July 4th; I didn’t know our activities were first suggested by John Adams in 1776. I found these words penned to his wife Abigail revealing. Traditions, connections, and celebrations have a long history.
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.
Now I am a grown up child and live in a town with 5 military installations. Some of our best friends are retired military. It’s been a joy to establish new traditions, connections, and celebrations with these friends.
As a grown up child, not only do I enjoy the realities of the freedom that the 4th of July represents, I also live in the reality of the freedom I enjoy as a child of God.
What about you? How do you celebrate this mid-summer day of Independence?
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

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