Independence Day and a Rare, Rich Treasure

There’s just something about Independence Day. Maybe it’s the summer sun. The chance to get outside and soak up some rays after a long, gloaming winter. Getting together with friends and the fam. Breaking out the barbecue – if you can find it. Fireworks. History. Patriotism. Pride.

Whatever else Independence Day may be, it’s a uniquely American holiday.  I love it!

Independence Day is like Christmas, Veterans/Memorial Day, the first day of summer, Thanksgiving, and a ginormous birthday party all rolled into one. To me, Independence Day means:

  • Parades and patriotism
  • Fifty stars and 13 stripes
  • Rockets’ red glare, bombs bursting in air
  • Apple pie, potato salad, hot dogs
  • Baseball! (sorry ‘bout that, soccer fans. Naw. Not really.)
  • Jefferson, Madison, Adams, Washington and Franklin
  • J.P. Sousa and The Stars and Stripes Forever
  • A statute in New York Harbor
  • Lexington and Concord. Gettysburg. Belleau Wood. Iwo Jima. Tarawa. The Chosin Reservoir. Khe San and Hue City. Fallujah. Mosul.
  • Telling King George III to go jump in a lake.
  • Margaret Corbin. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Harriet Tubman. Joshua Chamberlain and Ulysses S. Grant. Mary Walker (Medal of Honor winner). Sergeant York. John Basilone. Audie Murphy. Carl Brashear. Lewis B. Chesty Puller. Chester Nez. Angie Fox.
  • The biggest “I’m proud to be an American” party of the whole year.
  • Semper Fi!

Indeed, Independence Day is a day to pull out all the stops and celebrate this great, good country of ours. To reflect on our national history. To humbly remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty.

Our family tradition is to take turns reading the entire Declaration of Independence out loud. On our tippy-toes.

If I had to sum up “Independence Day” in one word, however, I’d probably choose “sunshine.” This may seem self-evident to those of you in the Sun Belt. And I’m insanely jealous. But for those of us who reside in the Pacific Northwest’s Rust Belt, where moss and mushrooms sprout overnight and mildew coats everything that doesn’t move in ten minutes, sunshine is a rare, rich treasure. Like this beautiful, magnificent country of ours and the freedom and liberty that are our birthright.

Like the sun, Independence Day means or is:

  • Warmth and generosity
  • Cheer
  • A blazing beacon
  • Eliminating shadow, gloom, and darkness
  • Powerful
  • Bright and shining
  • Always there, even when you can’t see it
  • Life-giving
  • A source of energy and optimism
  • A blessing. Remember the first words of Genesis 1: “Let there be light.”

I used to think John Wayne’s “America: Why I Love Her” was kind of sappy. Maybe it is. Know what? I don’t care. Because it still sounds like “Happy Birthday” to me:

Now then, the rust belt has loosened its grip on the Fourth. The sun is shining. The sky is pouring out a flawless curve of blue.  It’s a perfect day for a birthday party.

Meanwhile, does anyone know how to get mildew off a dog?



Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

*This post originally published in 2015.