Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Independence Day

Soon our country will be immersed in Independence Day -- fireworks, hot dos, sparklers, ball games, firecrackers, and picnics. Over the top pyrotechnics and loads of food seem to be the American way to celebrate freedom from tyranny. Parades featuring marching bands, veteran units, and lots of tractors will remind us that we are a free, democratic nation. July 4 will be the day when we as a collective nation will salute our military, our police, our firefighters, and our emergency medical response units as heroes. These people are instrumental in the freedoms we enjoy -- freedom from oppression, freedom from fear, freedom from destruction, and freedom from sickness. Yes, I will celebrate with everyone else this July 4th.

But I am getting older, more cynical. I stand on the side of the parade route and witness no one standing with their hand over their heart in salute to the flag. I see people cherishing the free candy tossed from the fire truck more than the firefighters. I see politicians extending a hand of welcome, in one of the only times they would be caught accessible in public. I witness a lack of concern for society's freedoms replaced by the idol of individual freedom. I see crowds mesmerized by explosions in the sky then swearing at the other drivers on the way home. I see beer sales climb on a hot day at the ballpark, only to see drunken men cussing each other over the umpire's call. What a great way we have developed of commemorating and celebrating the sacrifice of our founding fathers -- get drunk, blow something up, and become selfish. Now that is independence! Okay, enough cynicism.

I do enjoy the July 4th holiday and all the traditions. I enjoy the fireworks, the ball games, the food, and even the crowds. For where else but in America can we throw a national party such as this? All across America we have a connection -- we have a history of creating a democratic country. We had been tried, tested, and tempted as a country. We have survived. We still live in the world's greatest country -- no matter what our opinions are of today's society.

So whether you grab a sparkler, pop a can of root beer, head to the ballpark, watch some mega fireworks display, or just toss back a cold one -- may you always be involved in making America the best it can be.

Happy July 4th! See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzL4L_FpLvE

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