Monday, July 5, 2010


This year was a relatively quiet 4th of July for me.  In recent years I have steered clear of fireworks, professional displays or neighborhood parties, opting instead for a more quiet celebration of our independence.   In fact, the past two years, as happenchance would have it, I spent July 4th in CA, traveling for work.  This year it was nice to just laze around here at the old farmhouse, after attending the morning church service.

I was thinking back to Independence Day celebrations of years gone by and marveling at how things have changed.  When I was a kid we would always enjoy the firework displays and ooh and ahh as befits the explosions of color against the night sky.

When I was grown, married to my first husband, and raising two young children in Tallahassee, FL our practice was to take the kids to the fireworks display in the local park, carrying picnic and blankets, melding with other families as we created that quilt of American Independence celebration.  I often thought how we, all of those families, each with their blanket spread and enjoying their picnic in anticipation of the fireworks, WOULD look like a quilt to someone viewing the scene from above.

After moving to Virginia, our Independence Day celebration became a neighborhood gathering at a friend's house.  Three or four of the guys who participated in this annual event would make a fireworks run to SC to buy fireworks not available in VA.  There was no small cost involved in this, I might add, and it always amazed me that they spent all of this money on fireworks that they would either shoot off before it was dark enough to truly enjoy, but while they were still sober, or that they would shoot off when darkness had fallen, but after drinking so much they were seriously DANGEROUS....bottle rockets being set off without concern to direction or proximity of other humans....Still a "good time was had by all," or, "we survived another year."  Regardless, this went on annually until our friends moved across the state.  For a couple of years we made the 5 hour drive to "enjoy" the experience, but is wasn't the same.

When I was married to my second husband there was no celebration of Independence Day...not sure I ever followed the explanation for this, but I think it had something to do with some deep resentment of the south still being part of the union?  At any rate, though there was no celebration, my husband's family did like to sit out in the yard and enjoy the neighbors' fireworks.

And now, I honestly find it relaxing to enjoy a cookout in my own yard, stay off the streets and out of the crowds making their way to the firework displays.  I fly the flag and reflect on what it means to be American.  What it used to mean, and what it means today.  And in church, when we sang America the Beautiful, as always, I could not make it beyond the second verse before the tears were rolling down my cheeks.  There is just SOMETHING about those lyrics.

Tonight, as I reflect on my day, I am not sad I spent it quietly at home.  I am, after all, exercising MY independence to choose.  I hope you had a wonderful Independence Day.

America the Beautiful
Words by Katharine Lee Bates,
Melody by Samuel Ward

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern impassioned stress
A thoroughfare of freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!


mixednut555 said...

Thank you for writing the words to America the Beautiful for this post. It is one of my favorites and I too, cry every time I sing it. Just a FYI, that was originally a poem written after going up to the top of Pikes Peak just outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado where I graduated from High School. If a person has ever been to the top of Pikes Peak, you would totally understand those words in the first verse!

Happy Independence for you, Judy, in more ways than one, this year.

Judy's Corner said...


Thanks for your comment. I read it and now it is gone? Anyway, I liked the comment very much. I appreciate the recognition of my Independence Day and its special meaning this year.


mixednut555 said...

Weird, now my comment is here again! Poltergeists? Blog Ghost? Cyber glitch?

Judy's Corner said...

LOL kat, I think it was blogger having some delay issues earlier this week,....I noticed others were experiencing it too....thanks for reading and will you be POSTING again? LOL