By Melissa Price
Quick poll: what is your favorite part about celebrating the Fourth of July? Is it a fun-in-the-sun day at the lake, juicy watermelon, sweet corn slathered in butter, or a long nap in a hammock? Who doesn’t enjoy a brilliant fireworks display or a festive parade? In America any one of those things would certainly represent a traditional Fourth of July celebration. In fact, in 2013 almost 30 million Americans traveled over the Fourth of July weekend (AAA.com) and enjoyed food, music, sun, and sports to honor the day. Is this special day really honored? Is it revered, appreciated, remembered in its fullness? Maybe it’s because I am getting older, but I would like to impress upon you this year to reflect and then bask in the blessings of being an American and then celebrate the freedoms rather than the frankfurters.
The American flag is a symbol of American freedom. Be sure to fly it proudly this July. Use its colors on the mailbox, in your flower gardens, and around the porch banister. Wear its colors in your hair and on your feet. Fling red, white, and blue across your table tops, in your drinks, and on your desserts. Mini American flags dotting front lawns will advertise to your neighbors, “I’m patriotic! Hear me roar!”
In keeping with historical celebrations reflective of days gone, by all means attend a parade and don’t forget to wave your mini flag. Swim in a creek, drink lots of lemonade, and churn ice cream. Grill and barbecue, and then picnic under a shade oak tree. Slice watermelon, wipe peach juice from your chin, and consume ice cold bottles of root beer or grape soda. Consume sweet tea in a chilled Mason jar, potato salad, deviled eggs, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, hamburgers, hot dogs, and, yes, it will all fit on a plate!
I’ve observed for quite some time that although most folks recognize America’s songs, they don’t always know the words. “The Star Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” aren’t taught in many schools as part of the music curriculum as they once were, and young people especially have been cheated out of learning these special songs. When you kick off karaoke after picnicking, include patriotic songs to sing along to. It will be a great opportunity for participants to not only get their Independence Day groove on, but to also learn the words! Want to make sure the hot dogs don’t hog center stage, and you remain focused on the freedoms of the day? You can incorporate Declaration of Independence trivia into all sorts of games and then finish the evening off with traditional fireworks.
So, this year commit to the intentional celebration of America and its freedoms. Sure, the day is going to be fun. You are going to eat a lot of food, and probably do some swimming, wear flip flops, and take advantage of a day of relaxation. Make this year slightly different, though. This year, paint the town (or at least your yard) red, white, and blue. Blast “My Country Tis of Thee” from your karaoke speakers, and someone crown someone the “Declaration (of Independence) diva.”
Hopefully at the conclusion of your day, everyone will declare it’s been the best Independence Day ever and bask in the privilege of living in such a wonderful country.
Melissa Price is a homeschool mother to her son and daughter. She loves herbs and bees and watching her pigs grow! She doesn’t use gloves when she weeds the garden and a sun visor and boots are her garden fashion staples.