The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday, and when it falls on a Friday and makes for a three-day weekend, like this year, it’s extra special. Call it corny, call it nationalistic, but there are lots of things about Independence Day that I really like:
* John Philip Sousa marches played on the radio
* Parades that feature both grizzled war veterans wearing their uniforms and little kids riding bicycles they’ve decorated from the wheel spokes to the handlebars
* Somber readings of the Declaration of Independence or the Gettysburg Address by gravelly-voiced actors
* Flag-themed freebies, like hand fans, distributed by local businesses
* Evening cookouts with friends where people wear red, white, and blue clothing
* Driving home at night and seeing distant suburban fireworks shows on the horizon
The Fourth of July is a fun, festive holiday. I’m sure some people think the patriotic displays and red, white, and blue saturation are over the top, but I think they serve an important purpose: they remind us of why our country was formed in the first place and should make us thing about why we are so lucky to live here. If seeing the Stars and Stripes everywhere we look causes even a tiny fraction of Americans to reflect on the Founders, the interests in liberty and freedom that led to the Revolutionary War, and the principles on which our government was founded, that is a good thing.