This is probably my favorite holiday of the year,
Nothing can top Christmas, or the weeks surrounding it
But Independence Day is right up there.
I don't know why I love it so much.
Maybe it is just the summer air,
or the parades,
maybe the fireworks.
But I think it might have to be
the unity that I see in my family
around this time of year.
My greatest childhood memories are those
of the 4th of July with my cousins.
Or just my immediate family,
or my grandparents.
I remember making the trek to Provo
(yes a trek, because when you're little any car ride is a trek)
one year to see the Provo Parade.
We went with my cousins,
on my mom's side of the family,
I don't remember much about that,
all I remember is walking down the streets of Provo,
following my cousins going "Left, Left, Left, Right, Left"
(At least, I hope we did that...sometimes it just feels like a dream..)
I have memories of going to "Digger Park"
for 4th of July Breakfasts, or lunches.
Playing with their little sand digging toys
and having fun with my cousins.
When I was way younger the festivities
were never complete without a stop at
Grandma and Grandpa Christensen's house,
for a few fireworks in their back yard.
Given it was always during the day time..
so mostly we watched smoke.
But it was grand.
The parade and carnival were always so much
Definitely more fun, and way less political
then they are now.
The Sandy fireworks were captivating
A time for my family to gather together on
play card games,
oohing and awing.
The activities have changed as I have grown older.
The family gatherings are less and less.
I tend to spend more time with friends.
But there is always that feeling of unity,
This year I started off my celebrations differently then
I have before.
I attended Stadium of Fire (I'll post about that separately later)
It's always been a dream of mine to go,
so I made that dream happen.
I knew, as I have said before,
that the way I viewed this holiday
this year, would be different in years past.
Since Dave (my cousin's husband)
is on his first deployment with the National Guard,
it brings so much closer to home.
As I stood there, at the Stadium of Fire
watching the sky-divers, fly in with an American Flag
the military presenting the colors,
the singing of the National Anthem,
the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance
I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude for
those men and women who are sacrificing so much.
I was brought to tears, through the singing
of the National Anthem, as those words rang true.
"...the land of the free and the home of the brave."
We are truly blessed to live in this country,
where we have the freedom to choose for ourselves.
Where people give of their lives so willing
to protect strangers.
In church today we sang the National Anthem.
I am pretty sure it was the most beautiful
thing I have ever heard.
I had that same feeling of gratitude
wash over me again.
As I sang the song
I was reminded of my Aunt's post
from when Dave left.
This is why the 4th of July
is a little different this year.
I believe this is why I found myself
sobbing during the songs,
and feeling so grateful for those men and women.
Never have those words
of the National Anthem been so inspiring.
As we celebrate with our loved ones tomorrow,
let us not forget those we are giving of themselves,
to allow us to have those celebrations,
"...the land of the free and the home of the brave..."