Happy Fourth!

What are your July 4th traditions?  Do you have a certain fireworks show you attend every year?  Or are you a do-it-yourselfer, with your own stash of sparklers and bottle rockets?  Do you host a picnic or party every year?

I have always adored fireworks.  The first really memorable fireworks display I ever saw was in Boston with the Boston Pops when I was in college.  A group of friends and I went downtown for the event, and it was spectacular. 

There were years when I didn’t get to see fireworks, but then for six years we lived in a small town that had a very nice fireworks display, and the best part is, they set them off at the park at the end of our street.  We would sit in our front yard (or a neighbor’s) to watch.  That was always a blast.

Since living here, we have had a young child, and we haven’t made the effort to attend a fireworks show, although one of our neighbors delights in setting off quite an array of what I’m sure are illegal fireworks, so at least that’s SOMEthing.

Tonight we were going to try catch some of the local fireworks, but it’s pretty dreary right now, and news has it that rain and thunderstorms are headed our way.  In fact, this is the 3rd or 4th year in a row that we’ve had a dreary Fourth.  Which really gets on my very last nerve, but whatcanya do?

The one thing we do almost every year, though, is attend the 4th of July parade in my husband’s hometown.  His parents have lived in that town for well over 40 years, and they know E-V-E-R-Y body.  It’s an early morning parade, so it leaves plenty of time in the day to attend fireworks or neighborhood parties later on.  And there’s just something nostalgic and, well, American about attending a parade on the Fourth of July.

I love waiting in anticipation on the sidewalk, as my children stick their necks out into the street to see if they can get a glimpse of the first banner.  I love seeing all the people, from infants to the aged, who come out to wave their flags and celebrate the freedom we all too often take for granted.

When the veterans of foreign wars march past, I have to choke back tears.  When the bands play, I can feel the drum beats reverberating in my chest.  When the firetrucks groan down the street with their sirens blaring, I fight the urge to cover my ears like a child.  When the old cars drive by, I briefly wonder what it would have been like to live in the 30s or 40s or 50s.  Was it really simpler then?  When the floats and kids on bikes come by, decorated to the nines, I’m reminded that this is our now, and they are our future.

My kids?  They’re pretty much there for the candy.  But I hope as they get older, they will look back fondly on these days.

Here are a few pictures I snapped when I could snag the camera away from my son.  Actually, he took a few of these.

"Can I hear it?"

Patiently waiting…

Okay, WHY does my daughter look like she has to pee in the first picture and like she’s constipated in the second?  Sheesh!

Let’s try this one.

Better.  Oh, this is a good one.  No, they’re not related at all.  Ha!

We even got a picture with Uncle Sam, but I don’t know if he would appreciate me plastering his picture on my blog.  I almost asked if I could, and then realize he would have NO clue what I was talking about.

Last but not least — Philly born and bred like his daddy.  And please note his patriotic attire, right down to the lollipop.

I certainly hope you are enjoying your holiday. God bless America!