I Remember the Fourth

When I was growing up I don’t remember big to-do’s about the fourth.  Not as far as going places and celebrating in some grand style.  But I do remember celebrating.  And I remember it went year round.   Not just one day of the year.

When we were growing up dad would take us to the “farm” every weekend.  And every morning we would put the flag up and whoever was there would stand there and salute it or put their hands over their hearts.  As kids we didn’t know that saluting was reserved for military personnel.  So I think we were forgiven, and over looked by dad who probably thought it was cute.

In school we said the Pledge of Allegiance every single morning.  The memory of years of standing with a group of others saying in unison the pledge is one of the best parts of my school years.   No one complained about it.  No one made petitions to do away with it because it offended someone.   Which we wouldn’t have understood anyway.   How could saying the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of your loved country be offensive?  As an adult I don’t understand it either.

We would try to wear red, white and blue by putting together our different colored clothing parts.  Pretty or not, well designed or not, it was the effort and the desire to do so that made it all work out just fine.

I remember some small community fireworks.   I remember some cookouts.  I remember baseball games on TV and kickball games in the backyard.

I remember when the ‘farm house’ burnt down how we celebrated the United States of America’s bicentennial by posting flags on the back wall of the new basement/house we were building.  It was a hot and sunny day.  And we ate by cooking out and being hot and sweaty while we worked and played in the country that gave us the opportunity to rebuild and work and play and get hot and sweaty and drink iced cold Coca-Colas.

We were raised respecting what we earned and not expecting anything to be given to us.  We were raised to work and work hard.  We were raised to leave a place better than what we found it.  We saluted the flag and sang the anthem.   And we knew America was great because of our parents and grandparents and the life they lived before us, with us, and for us.

One of my best memories.  Comes from the darkness of the Fourth of July nights.  In our backyard or at the farm.  When dad would give us our very own fireworks show.  I don’t know much about fireworks or how much work goes in to creating such a display.  But there has never been a better or more elaborate display of fireworks in the world than  those displays dad put on for us.   At least in my memory.

Fireworks By Dad

30 thoughts on “I Remember the Fourth

  1. Now that’s the big Fourth every kid deserved, Colleen. Backyard with dad sweating the short fuses! I don’t remember the big sky stuff until I got older, either. Then I remember my mom walking the three of us to a spot where we could se a spot way out yonder over the park, with our neighbors all standing there too. And, I thought miles away, red sparks in a pattern and all the adults saying “oooh.”

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  2. I really felt this post, deep in my heart, Colleen. I could picture each part of this and think that I really loved the times where my Dad put the flag up, when he handed us sparklers, lit them with his lighter and also, his small fireworks lit at the bottom of the cliff by their retirement cottage. I think that I appreciated my Dad the most, when he was a Grandpa, I could look back and see the growth in his openness and honesty. I think being a father, he held some of his fears, worries and kept us kids from them. I loved him the most when he exposed his sensitivity and showed us tears. I admire the flag, I have Jehovah’s Witnesses for friends, honor and respect their point of view, but am so glad my naturalized grandparents chose America, made it the place they believed in, Colleen! Hugs for this special post today! Robin

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    • What a beautiful commentary about your dad. I will say I know that being a parent does feel different than being a grandparent. And I think you just explained it for us. Hugs returned. And I hope for a beautiful weekend for you and yours. 🙂

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  3. Colleen, what a wonderful reflection on the 4th. I don’t have the same memories of my early 4th’s. As a child we had the fire crackers on the street, and a bunch of sprakler’s we held high above the head. There may or may not have been a cookout. I just don’t know. As i aged memories of going to a major 4th Celebration come to mind, but again without the family celebration atmosphere. It wasn’t until Allison was little, that I have real memories of going to the actual demostration, and it scared her, so it never became a family tradition. But during my miltary years, the real importance of the 4th was taught to me, what it stood for, and what we stood for, I think those years in the Navy truly shaped how I felt about days like the 4th of July, Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and their true significance. One of the few times I was prepared to celebrate the 4th in style, I ended up spending a weekend in TN, a trip that was never done again. LOL LOL, I hope you and yours has a wonderful 4th. Take care, Bill

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      • Colleen, Allison has long since grown out of her fear, and I do beleive that Cari has as well. Cari is just 9, i do believe there were a couple years not so long ago that she had no interest. But I believe all the trips to the Majic Kingdom has gotten her fired up for fireworks. Take care, Bill

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  4. I would have to concur the country’s view about the 4th has – or is – changing. I do have my feelings about it but its better shared elsewhere.

    You mention about how we said the pledge. It was a matter of fact. Even though I’m Buddhist, I still recited it each morning in class (as well as took part in our nuclear attack drills). Many do not realize that it came about soon after Pearl Harbor. Even though its not required nor even mentioned in our Constitution, it shouldn’t matter. Even though my old friends and I stand and take off our caps when our National Anthem is played, many, many don’t let alone placing their hand over their heart.

    You are “blessed”, if I may use that term, to have such wonderful memories of the 4th… but our politicians – by asserting their own feelings – ban fireworks in our locale… Yet just across a street, it is legal. Nimcompoopery. They are clouding our nation’s birthday.

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  5. Wonderful memories of the 4th, and what it meant to you in particular as a child. I don’t remember much about the fireworks in our home. I have a feeling that between my mother’s caution and my dad’s discomfort with spending money on something so fleeting, we perhaps didn’t do too much. LOL! But I do remember sparklers and how much I loved them. And regardless of the lack of “fire power” I do know that my parents instilled in me a strong sense of patriotism that was certainly even more evident with Independence Day! I remember patriotic music more than the fireworks. I am so glad you shared your special memories, Colleen. And I hope your 4th was lovely this year!

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    • We have had a wonderful 4th Debra. As a matter of fact we just saw our fireworks last night. And my young friends set offf fireworks at their home. It was wonderfully reminiscent of my dad’s efforts. It made me very happy.

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