The neighbor has a bonfire going in his backyard and the wood-smoke is drifting my direction; it smells wonderful. American flags have been put out for display on street light poles, added to porches in the forms of pennants and bunting, and soon will be in the hands of gatherers coming to watch local parades and catch candy. Planners are putting last minute touches on firework displays, community parties and ensuring all of their supplies are in place. The orchestras and bands polishing the cymbals can be heard practicing the last phrases found in the Overture of 1812, the Star Spangled Banner and local alma maters. Across the country, menus for barbeques and watermelon picnics are being shopped for. People will gather to hear the Declaration of Independence read, refreshing the memory of the richly worded document. Sparklers will illuminate faces of many ages, creating a charming glow that reflects in their eyes. Veterans will be honored, as most definitely is their due; and somewhere future veterans will become inspired in the idea of service to their nation. These festive moments can be so special where people gather to celebrate the birth of an idea, especially when it takes on their own local flavor. I do love a small town Independence Day celebration; full of great hearted efforts and determined plans.
Happy birthday America. Your first Independence Day celebrations consisted of reading of the Declaration of Independence, a toast and a cannon salute to mark the start of a new idea. As we approach our next Fourth of July, let us continue to examine what our freedoms mean, to offer a heartfelt thank you to those who have served, and taking time to break bread with our neighbors - kick back and watch the fireworks.