In the USA, today is Independence Day. Most of us are happy to have the day off from work and spend time with our family and friends. At my house this is, traditionally, a day we don't do much besides grill hot dogs and watch fireworks.
Today, however, my daughters have a job to do. They are Program Aides (counselors) at a Girl Scout day camp. At first, I thought it was odd they were having day camp on Independence Day. But as the plans developed and my girls frantically assembled appropriate red, white and blue attire for the day, I saw it as a great opportunity for my girls to share what Independence Day means to them with the younger Girl Scouts and to make sure Independence Day means more than fireworks to the little people.
When I was 11, the USA celebrated its Bicentennial. What a huge celebration that was! I recall special ceremonies at school, in the community, on television. And it wasn't just on Independence Day, it was the whole year! Now, 31 years after the Bicentennial, I still remember that heightened sense of pride and patriotism. Not because of a war or a perceived enemy, but because we studied and heard about and talked about the principles on which our country was founded. The sacrifices our forefathers made to ensure we could live by those principles, the efforts people have made over the last 231 years to ensure those principles are upheld. That is the source of my patriotism and, in my opinion, what makes the USA great.
So, what does Independence Day look like at your house? And are fireworks legal where you live? (The good ones are illegal for the public where I live!) Ever burned yourself with a patriotic, but ill-executed display of pyrotechnics? Or, my favorite, do you have any special memories from the Bicentennial?