I love the Fourth of July, its, by far, my favorite holiday. One of the things I like best about the Fourth is the freedom of expression; i.e. the way everyone in this country is free to express their love of the Red, White and Blue, and the various forms that expression takes.
Take this photo for example, the young lad who shows off his partriotism (and his love for Mom) with a feaux tattoo on his yet-developed bicep and a red, white and blue hat. Maybe he is a future biker gang member, its hard to tell, but for now, at least, he is having good clean fun.
Often times I find myself being critical of the way other people express themselves — young people dressed slovenly, tattoos in general, but especially on women, flaming in-your-face sexual orientation, and religions that encourage the eradication of “non-believers”. Personally, I don’t care what they look like, who they love, what they believe in, or how they choose to live their life, as long as they obey the law, don’t try to change my beliefs, and don’t expect the government to take care of them. To make and keep friends, Ben Franklin said, “Never discuss religion or politics”. But, I digress.
Then, along comes the Fourth of July and I’m reminded how this country was founded on freedom of belief (religion), freedom of expression (speech), the pursuit of happiness, etc. I feel some remorse for criticising other’s way of expressing themselves. On the Fourth, my intolerance turns to acceptance … sort of. Wear what you want, say what you want, believe in your own God, and love whomever to want … just don’t get in my face about it and inhibit my pursuit of happiness. Live and let live.
Kids this age probably know what a peace sign is, but have no idea how or why it came about. But they’re still having fun with the Red, White and Blue theme, and will eventually develope a greater love for this country.
These temporary tattoos are a lot easier for me to tolerate, especially on my granddaughter.
Nothing beats a Fourth of July parade to see freedom of expression in action, especially in a small midwestern town surrounded by corn fields, where more people are in the parade than watching it. There are no written rules for this parade and no prizes given for the best “float”. Only the starting time is “scripted”, everything else is ad lib. The parade is completely FREE: free of registration, free of entry fees, free of decorating rules. There is a feeling of unity and common purpose, a rally-’round-the-flag sort of feeling. People are happy and genuinely cheering on the parade participants, and the participants are proud of their homemade decorations and their ability to express their patriotism any way they want. Its the total opposite of the Soviet Victory (May 9th) parades that showed off tanks, missiles, strutting soldiers, and other symbols of oppression, and the people had no choice but to show up and “cheer”.
Included in this year’s parade were people riding old rusting fat-tired bicycles, some with red, white and blue crete paper woven in their spokes, a 2 1/2 ton army truck (affectionately called a deuce-and-a-half) filled with candy-tossing, water-balloon-throwing, water-cannon-shooting teenagers, a fire engine (only one, and the driver used his horn sparingly), an old beat-up coughing-and-sputtering pickup truck, a shiny yellow fully-restored pickup truck, several decorated golf carts, a 4-wheeler, a T-Bird convertible with a self-appointed queen to “officiate” the festivities, a tractor pulling a bass boat filled with revelers, a flat bed truck filled with flag-waving citizens sitting on hay bales, a shiny maroon Hudson, a British Triumph, and an old army jeep. See parade pictures below:
Thanks to all the patriots, past and present, that have made it possible for me to express my thoughts in this blog, and thanks to you for taking the time to read them.
Thought for the Day: I’m sure Yogi was thinking all of the past revolutionaries, freedom fighters, veterans and present day servicemen/women when he said, “Thanks for making this day necessary”. Yogi Berra