Thursday, July 05, 2012

Fourth of July Freedom

(I had some fun with PicMonkey. Heehee.)
Our family enjoyed a fun Fourth, as per usual -- nothing overly exciting or fancy but fun, nonetheless.

Personally, I think it's always fun to feel patriotic! It reminds me of the patriotic songs we sang when we were kids.

We started the day watching our borough's annual parade. We actually left 45 minutes early to get good seats (by good I mean in the shade and on the curb within reach of the candy-throwers). We live literally 5 minutes by car from the parade route, but we were glad to get there early since it was already getting crowded. It's our county's only 4th of July parade.

The fun of this parade is the camaraderie enjoyed by everyone attending and the colors displayed. Seriously. The borough gives a flag to everyone who wants one. If you gaze up and down the street all you see is red, white, and blue. It's fantastic!

Ethan was especially pleased with his flag this year.

Then comes the display of decorated bikes and wagons and floats and fire engines and old cars and veterans from the different wars and brass bands and...and... It really is a proud community moment, not unlike the ones my parents remember from their childhood town. We (my little family) actually started attending this parade before we lived in the borough.

When we got home, it struck me as sad when Edward said that he liked how he could be patriotic on the 4th of July without worrying about being laughed at or made to feel bad. "It the one day a year when it's okay to be patriotic out in public," he said. 

My heart froze. Have we as a nation made it taboo to be patriotic? Have we made kids feel like they need to hide those feelings of pride in who they are, who we all are, as Americans? 

Please don't misunderstand. I believe that ALL men (in the generic sense meaning men and women, boys and girls) are created equal -- no matter WHERE they live. But I am proud of my country and that I'm American...just as I'm proud that my husband Stuart is English and grew up in England...and that my friend Jade is Dutch...and another friend Geli is German, and yet another friend Rachel is Australian. I think we should ALL be proud of who we are and where we live. 

That's not exclusive, nor is it saying we're better than anyone else. We just love where we live and who we are.

But there's a feeling a foot that says that maybe some people think they're better when they're proud of who they are. Somehow that's not "allowed" anymore. We should be ashamed of the bad things our nation does...or has done.


I didn't do those things. I'm a nice person. And I think my nation is full of nice people. Maybe the government has made some mistakes...done some "bad" things, especially over the history of our nation. But the government is only a part of the whole.

We, the people, are the heart of the nation. And we need to have the freedom to show pride in that so that that heart continues to beat strongly.

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Besides going to a fun parade and enjoying a yummy picnic with my family, we read aloud "The Declaration of Independence" as a family. Interesting stuff. Really. The Founding Fathers probably didn't realize how much history could repeat itself....

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