On this Independence Day, most people think of parades, cookouts, summer activities, and yes, fireworks. That's the tradition that has evolved over the years; and like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and Valentine's Day, it has become a Madison Avenue dream. No, you don't buy cards, presents, or candy like the others; but you do spend money at carnivals, festivals, outdoor concerts, and some people even make hitting the retail store sales, an annual family activity.
But I am afraid that all too many, really do not take a few minutes, when alone, and seriously reflect on what this day really means. I wonder just how many people really know just how much sacrifice it took from the men and women of the late-colonial period, to gain this freedom that all of us take for granted?
I am no killjoy and I am no stick in the mud, either. I have enjoyed some brilliant and spectacular fireworks displays, in my time. But honestly, I do not care about them as much as I used to. Why? Because fireworks and Independence Day are intertwined so deeply that, like Christmas, the deeper meaning gets lost in the celebrations, sometimes.
Be that as it may, I wish everybody a safe and happy 4th of July and I truly hope all of you have fun, in whatever your day's activities may entail. But at some point when you get a moment, pause and take a minute (or two) to reflect on what the day really means. Think about how lucky we are to be Americans, many nations are free, but I happen to think that ours, is special. And most of all, think about how freedom is not free. Someone paid a dear price for us to have this freedom.
They are all gone, now. But what they left us, endures.
Happy Independence Day!!