Tomorrow is a special day- Fourth of July!
Fourth Of July, or Independence Day, has never meant more to me than it did last year, and I know will this year. Before, I knew it was important, and we were celebrating our freedom, but last year something happened that changed my whole perspective of Fourth Of July.
I went to an American History writing camp.
Last year I spent the entire month of June, diving head-first into research about American History and the Revolutionary War time period. For 4 weeks I was fully immersed in this time of the birth of our nation, learning about heroes, enemies, battles, triumphs, losses, decisions, liberty, and freedom. It was remarkable, but I had no idea how much this would change my view of Fourth Of July and America.
It was July 4th, 2022. Writing camp had ended just a few days prior, and I found myself in the grass in my great-aunt and great-uncle’s neighborhood. My great-uncle came up in his golf-cart with some relatives of my great-aunts, and we all set up lawn chairs and laid out blankets. Out under the darkening sky, we all waited for fireworks to explode in color above our heads.
Pop! Fizz! Bang! And there they came. Beautiful arrays of blues, reds, greens, gold, and every now and then a purple. With a bang they exploded, and we were all bathed in a flash of light, our eyes transfixed on the sky. We all oohed and ahhed at the different shapes and designs the fireworks made in the sky.
I lay there in the balmy Southern summer heat, with God Bless The U.S.A playing in the background, and suddenly the emotions came. I was reminded there of how much I’d learned about our Nation’s founding. How many brave men and women, stood up for liberty, even to the point of dying. Laying down their life for the sake of freedom. A freedom I so readily enjoy today.
(The relatives of my great-aunts ironically were from England, so there we were watching the fireworks, celebrating our freedom from England, while also listening to the pleasant chatter of a British couple engage in conversation. It was quite the ironic and amusing experience! But it also had another layer of depth for me, since my character I was assigned to write about at camp was none other than King George III so perhaps it was perfect.)
I must be honest I nearly began crying, and if I remember correctly, I do think a tear or two came to my eye, just lying there thinking about all of this. Thinking about how America wasn’t always land of the free. American wasn’t always a democracy. We didn’t always have freedom of speech or freedom to vote. We weren’t always a country by the people for the people. We didn’t always have liberty. But now we do. All because of a good God who has blessed this nation from the day it was conceived, and the brave men and women who have make the ultimate sacrifice for America.
To all the men and women in the Armed Forces, Thank You.
To all the men and women who have laid down their lives for our nation, Thank You.
To all the men and women who have taken a stand for liberty, Thank You.
To all the men and women, young and old, rich, or poor, who have done anything, big or small, to protect our freedoms and preserve America, Thank You.
God Bless America.