July 2, 2006

Fourth of July, USA

Come on, sing along with me, I know you know this tune if you live in the USA:

“You’re a grand old flag,
You’re a high flying flag,
And forever in peace may you wave.
You’re the emblem of
The land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev’ry heart beats true
Under Red, White and Blue,
Where there’s never a boast or brag;
But should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.”

Love that song. Love the Fourth of July. And I love this United States of America. I often think how lucky I am to have been born here.

Not that I don’t love other countries. Most all countries have their beautiful spots and their wonderful regional food and their lovely people. But I’m always glad to come back home.

It’s the little things I love here in the USA. Listening to Sinatra when he sang “The House I Live In” has always, all through my life whenever I’ve heard it, touched me. I rarely hear that song without feeling tears well up, because it described life in the USA so well. But guess what. It still describes life in the USA.

Small-town USA Fourth of July parades, where everyone salutes when our American flag passes by, and everyone winds up in a park or a field on the outer edges of town where American families, no matter what their original nationality or race or religion, sit at long wooden tables for their Fourth of July picnic. We still do that, you know. We do. You don’t see it very often in the bigger cities, but they’re still here, and we’re still laughing at hilariously sloppy watermelon eating contests, scarfing down grilled hot dogs and corn on the cob and lemonade, kids still run around with their sparklers after it gets dark. It’s all still here. For you guys and women overseas, wherever you are, it’s all still here, waiting for you.

I love driving through my town on holiday weekends like this one and seeing American flags hanging from their poles in front yards everywhere. We still do that. We’ll always do it.

I love watching the fireworks on Fourth of July night. They’re so beautiful. SO beautiful! And even listening to the Boston Pops with fireworks in the background on television is beautiful if I’m not able to get out that night. My emotions are just as stirred.

I once drove back up to Chicago on Fourth of July night and every town we passed was having their fireworks display, almost as if they’d timed them so we could see almost all of them. Magic nights like that don’t happen very often, but they happen.

They’re still here.

I even love the constant political arguments in Washington, D.C. because it says, to me, that at least we can still argue like one big dysfunctional family, because that’s what we are, you know. And dysfunctional though we may be at the moment, we’re still family, and while we all get riled up at times, at least we can say we’re riled up without being afraid of getting arrested or shot for it.

One of the most touching Fourth of July events I ever attended, which kept me in tears the entire time, was in a very small town further down in Illinois where the parade couldn’t have been more than three blocks long, if that. It wound up in the middle of town at a statue, where all the older men who belonged to the VFW took part in a ceremony that ended with them all standing, even the ones in wheelchairs, and saluting our flag while the small band played America the Beautiful. That song always makes me cry. They played it at my stepfather’s funeral, so eloquently appropriate, because he deeply loved this country and wasn’t ashamed to say so.

We have our cherished traditions, and like Tevya, who describes it so well in Fiddler on the Roof, we know what they are and we continue them. We always will. No matter who objects to our American Flag, we’re still going to fly it whenever we want, wherever we want. As long as it still flies, that’s all that matters.

It’s still our Grand Old Flag.

Well, y’all, I’m going to hop into my itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini and go lie out in the sun a while, sipping lemonade, occasionally rolling into the shade under my red, white and blue beach umbrella.

Goofy as I am most of the time, I’m still one of the most patriotic people you’ll ever meet in your life and I love this country with a passion. So ta ta for now, thank you so much for stopping by, and don’t forget to keep humming the song at the top of this blog post.

I know you will. You won’t be able not to. That’s why I put it there. 😉

Love y’all, come back soon,

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  1. Glad I’ve finally found soetmnhig I agree with!







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