Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Well folks, it's the fourth of July, which means that it is Independence Day here in the good old United States and that most Americans get to take an extra day off work while the rest of the world has to slog in to the office like any other day. Because for them it is just the Fourth of July. Well, that would be true if it wasn't a Saturday. But the point is that this is the day when we get to celebrate the effective birthday of our great nation, or I suppose more appropriately the day that the birth certificate was signed. It is one of my favorite holidays because it is all about being outside, relaxing, and celebrating the things that are great about the USA and ignoring all the things that maybe aren't so much. While it is a time to celebrate family, much like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Easter, it is much more about celebrating civic pride.
Nothing says "celebrating civic pride" quite like a parade and fireworks. And every town seems to have both. In county in which I live, there are at least eight communities that have fireworks, and at least ten that have parades. It's great. The we talked about why I love fireworks the other day, so I guess we should talk about why parades are so great. Parades are great because they celebrate everything that is great about your community. Think about who is always in the parade: the fire department (what happens if there is a fire, I have always wondered), the Boy and Girl Scouts, high school marching band, a local politician or two, and maybe some Shriners if you are lucky, usually a local business or seven. And everyone turns out to watch. People are hanging out of windows, people are sitting three deep on the curb, little kids are on dad's shoulders to watch, Sister and I are sitting in lawn chairs drinking beer in her backyard, and there are clowns and cheerleaders and random people throwing candy and plastic beads at everyone. I guess you could sort of describe it as a family-friendly Mardi Gras. But anyway, it doesn't matter what you are doing, just about everyone makes it down for at least part of the parade. I will never pass up a good parade. They always make me feel good about wherever I happen to be standing, and they always make me feel good about the people I happen to be standing around with.
So I guess that what I am saying is that I want you to make a concerted effort to get out to your local parade and fireworks. Like, if you are trying to get somewhere and you are pissed because the route you want to take is blocked off because of the parade, just give in and watch it pass by. Even if you can't find anyone you know to go with you just head down and I assure you that someone you know will be there. Just get into the sprit and celebrate America, celebrate the piece of America in which you live, and celebrate the American spirit. Oh, and enjoy the festivities responsibly. Happy Independence Day everyone!

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