I love the 4th of July. It’s in my top-two favorite holidays along with Thanksgiving. Probably whichever one is happening at the time is the one that gets the #1 slot. I love Thanksgiving for the food and for the underlying concept, which is to be grateful for what you have, which can too often be a missing ingredient in life.
I love Independence Day for really the same reasons. There’s always great food around on the 4th. A hot dog, bratwurst, or burger from the grill, maybe some potato salad…how can you go wrong with that? And there is ample opportunity to think of what you might be thankful for, if you remember that the holiday celebrates not blowing stuff up, but our nation’s independence.
We are extraordinarily blessed to live here in the U.S. of A. This is a nation not created out of tribalism, not based on race or religion, and when we fulfill our promise as a people, it is one that welcomes all who seek freedom. You needn’t call God by that name, nor worship Him at all if you choose not to. Though our founders most certainly were mostly Christian believers, and though we have some references to the big cheese in the sky (you got yer “One nation under God” in the pledge, or “In God We Trust” on the greenbacks for example), they codified that our government was to be a secular one. And God bless them for that.
We as a people mess up freedom from time to time, but all humans are flawed and make mistakes. The beautiful thing is, if you don’t like the gubmint, you can stand up and say so, about as loudly as you’d care to. There are whole bunches of people in Iran right now who are protesting their regime, and in some cases paying with their lives.
So I watch 4th of July fireworks each year with a sense of awe at the general greatness of this nation, and as those shells explode in the sky I watch with a reverence for those men and women who faced the explosions of a different kind of shell, or a musket, or an AK-47 in the creation of and the defense of the freedoms that we enjoy. It moves my soul, and reminds me just how fortunate I am to have been born here.
Happy Independence Day, America.