Remembering Independence

Independence Day brings much hoopla when it rolls around. Some see it as the culmination of patriotism. They dress in red, white and blue from head-to-toe and deck out their house and everything that stands still with the colors of Old Glory.

Some see it as a reason to (finally!) spend the day with cocktail-in-hand (acceptably.) Others a reason (possibly mandatory, depending on your Matriarch) to celebrate with family.

Some see it as a reason to show off their barbequeing skills. Others a reason to consume alllll the calories - for just that one day - they don't count nor care. Some see it as a benchmark of summer (i.e. "summer's practically over.) Others see it as a day off of work or a day to pick up some overtime pay.

I wonder if all these reasons were similar way-back-when. You know, when that famous Declaration was signed. When the country's hard-fought freedom had been secured. Was there day drinking and much food consumption? Probably. You know, after the whole signing business had been taken care of.

Was there celebrating and wearing special clothes and displaying our flag and our colors? I would think so. If it were an option for people to have those things, I would imagine they wore/displayed/decorated with them.

Were there people that worked the day away and people that saw it as a day to close their shop doors and celebrate? I mean, babies were still born on that day, so there had to be some doctor or midwife or someone still working - right?

So, however you see the day, you're probably just doing some similar version of what's always been done. Maybe it's the way you celebrated when you were growing up. Maybe it's how your mom and her dad before her chose to recognize the day.

Here's the point-to-remember though; whether you're getting up in the morning and putting on your favorite red t-shirt and firing up the grill to slowly cook the ribs or whether you jazz up your nurses scrubs with a flag pin - I hope it's not so routine that there's no recollection of why you do it. I would like to think that nothing you do on America's birthday is so "this is what I do every year" that you almost pass the day without thought to why.

A lot of people gave up a lot for those of us now to spend the day on the water or to take the family and watch the fireworks display. They may be part of your family's tradition but there was no tradition in how we got to celebrate in the first place.

I would imagine those soldiers fighting for our country didn't wake up and think ehhhh, same-o, same-o, another day, another battle...

I would imagine their families didn't wake up every day and go about their duties without gripping worry and fear of their loved ones fighting in battle until their brave family member either came back home to them or oh dear heavens, worse - didn't.

There's no glory in those of us today flying our flags and wearing our U.S.A. themed T's without a moment's pause as to why. Without the why - just wear your regular clothes. Do your normal Monday through Friday routine. There's a reason for the day - however you spend it, there's a reason you see it as you do. Sure, have some fun but remember it's not about you. It's not about how cute your kids look. It's not about your Instagram posts or the funky flag glasses you found at Target. It's not about teaching little Jonny to water ski because you finally have the day to do it. It's not about shooting copious amounts of explosives into the sky for the entertainment of those who can them. Sure, you can do these things. You can do all these things but somewhere between the potato salad consumption and the oooohing and aaahing over the fireworks display should be a moment of deep gratitude. Wherever your political values lie. Whatever side of the ballot you vote - on this day, it doesn't matter. Gratefulness should know no side, age, gender or hair color.

I hope you all enjoy your Independence Day doing whatever it is you do - be it traditional or something new this year. I hope you pursue your happiness and spend it safely and respectfully giving a moment thinking about your life, your liberty and why you're doing what you're doing in the first place.