The 4th July is upon us already. And boy am I ready for it. 4 days of sun and friends, eating, drinking and being downright merry! This holiday has become so social, the ideal time for a big party with friends and family, and I don’t see a single thing wrong with this. Some of my favorite memories growing up are of waiting anxiously until the sun had finally, completely set so that we could start shooting off the rather questionable (read: military-grade) fireworks my dad had purchased way up north on the side of some two lane county highway.
But the older I get, and the most history I learn, the more meaningful the 4th of July becomes for me. The American flag lapel pins that average Americans, and Washington politicians wear represent a concept and a vision that men (and women) literally died for, and unfortunately, continue to die for. A bunch of ruffians on the east coast 250 years ago decided that a liberal democracy was worth taking on the absolute world power that was England… and despite every odd, they won. And so we continue on today, in our 21st century version of the vision our founding fathers dreamt up for us.
And equally importantly, we are still trying to achieve that dream. The Martin Luther King Jr’s, Harvey Milk’s, Gloria Steinem’s and millions of others are still pushing to bring our nation into a more perfect union.
So when you’re throwing on that 4th of July t-shirt, or pinning American flag lapel pins on for this weekend’s festivities, don’t forget how far we’ve come. From a threadbare flag with 13 stars on it, scorched and torn, flying above the fray, to wearing seeing Old Glory on everything from baseball hats to tennis shoes. Raise a glass to freedom. And then by all means cut straight to the part where you shoot off colorful, contraband explosives.