Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy July 4th -- Independence Day!

As I made my way back home from Austin to Frisco yesterday, I couldn't help noticing the patriotism along the roadways. Flags waving and fireworks' stands crowded with buyers for their "4th" celebrations.

When I drove into my community, the roadways were lined with flags, and as I turned toward my house, my next door neighbor's yard made it very clear that their patriotism is running high. Before I unloaded my car, I quickly put out my three flags so that I'm counted among those who love our country and have heartfelt gratitude for those who served so selflessly to give us so many freedoms.

Today is the day we celebrate “life – liberty – the pursuit of happiness” and in so doing, we get to FREELY gather together with friends and family for a barbeque, shoot off some fireworks and even, if you’re close to a fireworks show, you’ll probably even catch some spectacular sights and sounds.

There’s a special kind of nostalgia about the 4th of July for me. As a child raised in Dallas, our annual 4th of July tradition was to go to the Cotton Bowl at the State Fair Grounds and we’d watch an unparalleled display of the spectacular fireworks show EVER. After that, we’d head just far enough into the country to shoot off a few bottle rockets and sparklers to continue celebrating this special day.

Honestly, back in those days, I don’t remember giving too much thought to what the meaning of July 4th was. But the older we get and the more honed in we are about the tumultuous times that others in foreign countries are living in, the more gratitude we have to live here. Knowing that our brave and courageous men and women who serve us in those countries and defend us here, the more precious this day becomes. This day, July 4th, is the birthday of our nation. And, with President Ronald Reagan, I say, “It’s the birthday of the greatest nation on earth.”

I read that John Adams, himself a signer of the Declaration, thought that Americans should celebrate a “great anniversary festival” to commemorate our nation’s freedom on July 4th. In a letter to his wife Abigail he wrote, “It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore.”

So, really, what does this day mean to you and me? Shouldn’t it still be about being “one nation under God”, about giving thanks to God Almighty for this day of deliverance? Surely this day is for all of us to really cherish that original dream, the one for which so many have died and so many continue to serve us with honor, courage and dedication.

With Lee Greenwood, I’m singing: I'm proud to be an American where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men (and women) who died, who gave that right to me. And I'd gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today. ‘Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land. God bless the U.S.A.