I wasn’t born in the United States, turned 2-years-old right after we arrived, after my parents waited 7-years for their okay to come. And they made sure we appreciated this country, knew her history and got involved; for they knew that you cannot love and honor what you don’t know or don’t miss. I get choked up and my eyes well up saying the pledge of allegiance, singing the Star Spangled Banner or while watching fireworks to patriotic music… so I’m a mess on the 4th of July weekend.
In 2013 I wrote a piece entitled the American Patriotic Season that encompasses a lot of my thoughts about the patriotic holidays from Memorial Day through Veterans Day that includes suggested activities, that was reposted by request for July 4th 2014.
Our family celebration of this patriotic holiday, as with others, has changed somewhat from my childhood through my children’s childhood, to now… but for as long as I can remember it always included watching the 1942 academy award winning movie “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, the biography of patriotic songwriter and playwright George M. Cohan starring James Cagney. When we were kids the Million Dollar Movie used to play the same movie for a week, every week, and it was always Yankee Doodle Dandy every 4th. So we always watched it several times each year. We always also attend a live fireworks show somewhere… at the ballpark after an Angels or Dodgers game, at one of the piers or Coronado Island, at a local park after a day of picnicking with friends and family, a few times at some special extravaganza, but we have never missed a year of fireworks..
We always take some time over the weekend, no matter where we are celebrating to discuss the history that surrounds the 4th of July… something about the Revolutionary War, our Founding Fathers or perhaps about a book someone is or has read recently relating to that era. And we always say a prayer for America and our troops at each major meal.
And if we are home, we try to attend the local parade and do something to carry forward the day’s, the weekend’s patriotic spirit through to election day and Veteran’s day. We often decide on and volunteer for a campaign or get involved in a Pac, like Carly Fiorina’s new Pac to go Head-to-Head with Dems’ ‘War On Women’ attack. There are always so many possibilities.
This year we got involved with the Murrieta border protest. Some years we volunteer to feed the homeless and/or visit the Veteran’s Hospital that weekend. Hundreds of courageous U.S. men and women planned and headed down to Mexico on a rescue mission on July 5th to demand the release of Marine Sgt. Tahmooressi. We also bought tickets earlier in the week for Beck’s late July event: “We Will Not Conform”, relating to Common Core and public education and plan to attend one of Trevor Loudon’s SoCal Events in either Corona or Santa Ana on July 12th.
Our wrap for the weekend will be to go to the theater and see Dinesh D’Souza’s America… with as much of the family as we can gather up and then head home to discuss it over a slice of flag cake followed by the readings from our grateful bowl, like we do at Thanksgiving.
Grateful Bowl: As everyone arrives for dessert, we have each of them fill out a grateful note, to be deposited in a bowl, basket or container. At this holiday it is a note about something you are grateful for related to living in America. After dessert has been served, (with the TV off), we have everyone gather within earshot and have someone draw out the slips of paper one by one and have a designated person read them aloud.
One of my favorite events was always the unveiling of the giant American Flag at the Crystal Cathedral to the tunes of John Philip Souza music at every patriotic holiday; now sadly only a memory and part of history. God bless you all… and God bless America!