On Fourth of July, my brother Chris and I would decorate our bikes with red and blue streamers. We went through lots of Scotch Tape. Sometimes we’d go watch the local fireworks at Abington High School and other years we’d be satisfied with sparklers (somehow terrifying) and my Dad’s hibachi charcoal grill burgers. A sweet slice of Americana.
Here in the South, the patriotic traditions also make me smile. Veterans get special parking spots at many stores, including Harris Teeter. Every morning during the school year, the local ABC news show broadcasts a different class saying the Pledge of Allegiance. People put out their flags beginning with Memorial Day and they don’t get put away. Everyone seems to be wearing red, white and blue the week leading up to July 4th.
Families go all out with the golf cart and bike decorating. There are neighborhood parades and tons of firework displays in backyards, beaches and harbors. The firework stands line the highway along with the sweetgrass basket shacks.
I thank my ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War for the life I live today. I thank my parents for all those special 4ths in Philadelphia (especially the Bicentennial celebration) and I thank God that I’ve landed in another beautiful American town. Happy Fourth of July!
“O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”