I have such great memories from my childhood of the 4th of July. I literally grew up in the shadow of Stone Mountain, so every year we’d go with the neighbors and park along Hugh Howell road so that we could view the fireworks. We’d sit on the tailgate of my mom’s old Buick station wagon and eat while we waited. Then they moved and we’d go up to visit them. We’d drive across the state line into SC to purchase fireworks and set them off by their pool.
In recent years, I’ve become heat intolerant and have taken to watching the fireworks on TV. My mother always insisted on going to the Hickory House for barbecue, and I still do that. Another personal tradition is watching “Yankee Doodle Dandy” every year. It is hands down the most patriotic movie ever made. I usually start crying as James Cagney is walking down the stairs of the White House. By the time he joins the street parade I’m bawling.
The movie also serves as a reminder that some people don’t think patriotism is cool. The famous Broadway actress sneers at George M Cohan and his patriotic shows. But the American public loved them. And even though his shows don’t play anymore, we still have the music.
This year, we’re all busy arguing about a shoe company and whether the Betsy Ross flag is racist. Or the president and his military parade with tanks rolling past the Lincoln Memorial.
But why does patriotism have to be partisan? Some people have an aversion to outward displays of it. Some Americans feel more shame in their citizenship than pride. They were taught all of the bad things in our history without developing an appreciation of all that is good. Judging from the wide array of red, white and blue out there, these people are in the minority. Krispy Kreme had special 4th of July donuts. Einstein has red, white and blue bagels. 7-11 and Outback Steakhouse are offering discounts to military personnel. You can find plenty of patriotic clothing (except for Nike shoes of course.) The grocery stores have everything from patriotic flower arrangements to red, white and blue cupcakes. Clearly, America sells.
Liberals get a bad rap for being unpatriotic. I don’t think it’s true. My liberal friends love our country as much as I do. Maybe they don’t show it in the same way. We used to say dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Do we still believe that?
Today is not a day to celebrate Donald Trump. It’s not about him. It shouldn’t be about him. Today is America’s birthday. Today is the day we are thankful to our founding father’s for freeing us from taxes and tyranny. It’s not their fault we brought them back.
Personally, I wish tanks weren’t rolling through Washington. A friend posted a great quote from the late Erma Bombeck:
“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4th, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”
This year my game plan is to binge watch Stranger Things and remember when people actually shopped at Gwinnett Place Mall. More good memories.
However you do it, let’s all celebrate America today and be grateful for all of its goodness.