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.