Last year I had my tonsils removed and could barely function or talk in complete sentences. This year, as July 4th occurs on a Saturday, logistically it doesn't make sense to try to go and be back bright and early on Sunday morning (especially since it's finally my month to sing again and we have an early rehearsal).
I'm a little dismayed.
4th of July is a big holiday for my little family--we always go to the fireworks at the local military base. It's such a huge, patriotic event that easily outshines the shows in either Greenville or Washington. It's time when all of the military families (including mine since my grandfather, uncles, and father were all in some branch of service) come together on the HUGE lawn at the base and watch the most incredible fireworks displays ever. We're talking 30+ solid minutes of fireworks--and not one at a time. The grand finale is usually at least 10 minutes of lights and explosions. It takes your very breath away it's so beautiful.
Before the fireworks, the military band comes to play over an hour of standard patriotic repertoire, a little Sousa and all of the other holiday classics. They also take the time to play all of the military branch songs while those who serve, or have a family member that serves, stands for the duration of the piece.
What a feeling to stand with your father as they play and know that your daddy is part of the reason that you have the freedom to speak your mind and go to a church of your choice.
Most importantly, it's a time for those directly affected by military operations all over the world to be told "Thank you so much for putting your lives and your families on the line daily for our freedom."
And how wonderful to stand with thousands of people during the National Anthem and not one, single, person moves or talks. Not one. And certainly no one yells "Play ball!" or any other idiotic phrase at the conclusion of the piece. Children are not running around, hats are not on heads, and teens are not slouching or texting. No no no.
I love my country.
I love our military.
I am fiercely patriotic.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have, and will continue to do, for the United States of America.