When I was a kid the Fourth of July was all about Fireworks.
It was about school being out and the long, lazy days of summer stretching out before me; it was about trips to the river with inner tubes in the back of the station wagon and cousins coming to visit for days on end.
The Fourth of July was about family reunions and camping out in the backyard in tents. It was about roasting hot dogs over campfires in the early evening as the smoke from the bonfire drifted lazily through the yard. It was burning marshmallow torches and running through the forest and screaming like banshees. It was a time of night games and insect bites. It was watching shooting stars and making wishes that never quite seemed to come true.
The Fourth of July was standing in front of the makeshift roadside stands with a few dollars I’d been saving for months on end clutched in hand. It was gazing at the rows of brightly packaged pyrotechnics arranged before me, just waiting their time to set the skies ablaze.
The Fourth of July was about blowing up cowpies with my longtime friend, Jess. This was—by far—one of the greatest and little-known pastimes of all. We’d see how close we could get to the bovine pastries and still not get nailed by the flying shrapnel when the crater was blown from the varied meadow muffins we encountered. The fresher the better, and juicy was all about the splatter.
If Jess was icked more then I…well, then life was good.
The Fourth of July was homemade popsicles and sitting the front slab, with the sticky stuff running down your chin and forearms. It was all about sunburns and snickering with friends at those crazy Laffy Taffy jokes until our sides ached.
That was the Fourth of July when I was a child.
But now that I’m older, I realize that the Fourth of July is so much more.
The fourth of July is about freedom. It’s about sacrifice. It’s about the men and women who fought for the rights we have today. It’s about the day we celebrate our independence from England. It’s the day we commemorate the nation we live in and love.
The Fourth of July is all of these things; it is the celebration of the past and the present…and one day it will be the celebration of the future, wherein it will become many more things as well…
Happy TeachinFOURTH of July to you…
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