Standing in the middle of my street on the evening of the Fourth of July, plumes of smoke wafting right above my head and explosions blasting on through the night as if we were at Fort Sumter in the days of yore, I quickly realized Independence Day is my favorite holiday.
Not because of the imminent danger of losing an appendage due to firecrackers or bottle rockets, but because it is just so patriotic. It is tough to find somebody not clad in red, white or blue – or all three – and for a whole 24 hours. And you see people wearing Uncle Sam hats who don’t look at all foolish.
Maybe it isn’t genuine patriotism and it is more of an excuse to watch or play with fireworks or to have a picnic with family or friends, but I don’t really care. In today’s day and age, I’ll take love for the country, whether it is 100 percent genuine or not.
One day when we are all Americans instead of Republicans or Democrats is fine by me. When we are all Americans instead of scrutinizing which mother country our ancestors came from is refreshing. When nightfall arrives, we watch bombs bursting in air and hear “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in the background, and we all become children mesmerized by the show.
At this time last year, I was in Colonial Williamsburg listening to “God Bless America” at a Pops concert and saw amazing fireworks to go along with it. I almost felt like an early settler sans the uncomfortable wig on my head or a musket by my side.
I get so wrapped up in the pageantry of it all that it is the one time during the year I’ll put PBS on the TV and watch the magic come to life in Washington. With a belly full of hot dogs and apple pie, I might not have the oomph to drive my Chevy to the levee, but I sure can turn on a baseball game and fall to sleep to the dulcet, faint booms in the distance.
In a time when I think we are far too divisive too much of the time, the Fourth of July breaks up the year perfectly and brings us all together. If that’s the only reason it is my favorite holiday, it’s good enough for me.
You can reach Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org to fire up a sparkler.