The 4th of July holiday means a lot of different things for a lot of different people. For some it means family cookouts and fireworks on the beach. It means gathering with friends and watching children play with sparklers. It could also mean just an extra-long weekend.
Summer sparks different memories for all of us and no matter what the weather may be like, the 4th of July officially means summer.
When I was a kid my parents would always grill hot dogs and hamburgers, make homemade potato salad and baked beans. We would have freshly brewed iced tea and cherry cheesecake for dessert. Then, as a family, we would pack up blankets and walk to our hometown park to watch the fireworks.
It's a fairly typical American tradition done to commemorate the holiday.
This year, as I'm officially an adult and living on my own, I'm wondering how I should celebrate. Should I grill hot dogs and brew tea? Should I walk to the park, spread out a blanket, watch children play with sparklers, "oooh' and "aaah' over the fireworks?
As America's birthday, it's our responsibility to realize that the 4th of July commemorates more than a family get together. As a day for celebration, perhaps we should also remember how our country was born and the effort it still takes today to preserve the way we live.
This year, as I watch the blazes soar into the air and explode, I think I'll send my gratitude with them. I'll take each burst of light as an act of courage that others had. We should all appreciate the rights and freedoms we have, the freedoms that so many have given their lives to protect.
This year I'll honor them as well as you, America.