4th of July… This year was one of… if not… thee best!
We went to my sister’s house in Rhode Island. For those of you from other parts of the world… R.I. is the smallest state in the USA. It’s tiny… and perfect!
Anyways… my sister lives on the water. And every year… their neighborhood does the most quintessential… all Americana.. small town… 4th of July celebration… EVER!!! BAR NONE!!!
It’s now become a family tradition of ours. It starts first thing in the morning for neighborhood beach cleanup. But from what I understand… It’s more of a kids eat donuts and dad’s do the cleaning up… for the evening’s bonfire!
We then get all the kids ready for the neighborhood parade! All the kids paint their faces red, white and blue… paint their hair, their bikes, their dogs…
And then the parents line the street to watch… 1 Police Officer, 40 kids, multiple dogs, and one 92-year-old baton twirling woman… riding on her 3-wheel bike… march in the cutest and shortest parade in history.
At the end…We said the Pledge of Allegiance… and sang God Bless America. Then awards were handed out for the neighborhood’s new babies, graduating seniors… and last… but certainly not least… the famous pink plastic flamingo award that has to be placed in the winner’s front yard.. for the whole year… for all the neighbors to laugh at… until the next 4th of July! (And if you get caught with the pink Flamingo… not proudly presented in all its glory… You get sent a warning letter!)
Then an Ice Cream Truck pulls up and hands out free ices… Lemon, Watermelon, or Cherry! True old school New England Americana!!!
At the end of the night… we all walk down to the beach for a big bonfire and fireworks.
Now… to say “watching fireworks”… is like saying you saw some doodling at the Louvre! Or, grabbed a bite at Le Cirque.
My sister lives on an inlet. Imagine a horseshoe… and we are in the bottom of the pit. So as the sun went down… for hours and hours… we watched thousands of fireworks going off in every town along the shoreline. Everything from people in their backyards… having fireworks contests.. to town parades. Literally thousands…. you could see for miles and miles on both sides of our lucky personal beachy horseshoe! Pure Magic!
But this Brain Tumor girl could only handle so much “Bombs Bursting in Air…” So, Greg took me home and put me to bed. But the fireworks went on all night long. And to me… it was wonderful… but also a little painful.. to my sensitive head.
Then I started thinking about all the soldiers I talk to.
What is 4th of July like for them?
They have seen real bombs bursting in air. And hearing them constantly going off… in the distance and sometimes… very very close.
This holiday must be horrific for them. They must lay in their beds and cover their heads with their pillows… just to drown out the noise.
I don’t know how to view the juxtaposition of the two.
Please remember that 4th of July didn’t come without major sacrifice. I hope everyone enjoyed their hot dogs and ice cream. My family did… and it was so lovely. I’ll never forget it!
But I understand the price that was paid now.
I wish all of our service men and women a healthy 4th of July. We all stand by you!
I have read this every year you have posted it – and it is still the most touching Fourth of July thoughts I have ever read. I hope lots of people read this and pass it on – hopefully to servicemen and women.