I read an interesting–and to me, depressing–article in the New York Times yesterday about how the American flag itself is now considered by many a partisan symbol. The same is true for the 4th of July, one of this country’s most beloved holidays. Where I live, there is intense disagreement over how to celebrate the founding of our nation, at least on the part of policy makers.
I’ve always loved the 4th although now that my kids are grown I no longer make this cake. (Mine always looked as though the flag had been attacked by random haters throwing fruit.) I am looking forward to watching the scaled down fireworks my town still hosts and toasting my country later tonight.
How about you? If you’re an American (or not), do you love celebrating the 4th of July? How about Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas? Labor Day? And if you’re from elsewhere in the world, what are your favorite holidays? Do you have traditions you celebrate with each year on those days?
And, to all, especially all my fellow Americans, Happy Fourth of July. As Barack Obama said on the 4th in 2014:
Those early patriots may have come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but they were united by a belief in a simple truth: that we are all created equal, that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Now that’s something to celebrate!
Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day.
I live in Ripley, WV known as the “largest small town independence day celebration in America”……. we celebrate for a,week with all kinds of activities and events, culminating in a parade and fireworks. So yes I definitely love the 4th of July for the chance to honor, even with our flaws and our many areas to improve, the greatest nation on earth.
The 4th of July is also my husband’s birthday, so we always celebrate in some way. When the kids were young we often went to his parent’s house (Tidewater area of
VA) for the long weekend,when there was usually a family reunion going on with Will’s mom’s family. Food and family visiting and then later, fireworks over the water. Lots of good memories.
When at home we did a few family, neighborhood friendly fireworks in out cul-de-sac and grilled out. It’s been years since we did any celebrations other than Will’s birthday and grilling out, mainly because my kids never liked the loudness of fireworks displays, so we stopped going. This year it’s marinated chicken and chocolate/chocolate chip muffins for dessert. (Will asked us a while back to stop making flag themed cakes for his birthday! He’s had one every year of his life!) )
We celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional meal, and until last year we’ve had one or more of the kid’s friends or boyfriends to stay for several weeks in November, early December, or at Christmas time. I love the extra bodies! We love Christmas time, although it’s pretty secular for us, we have fun with lights and decorations and always get together on Christmas morning. Our traditions include cinnamon rolls and mimosas.
Easter hasn’t been a big holiday for us, although when Will and I were attending a Catholic Church for several years, the Easter Vigil Mass was one of the highlights of the season. When the kids were young we did baskets for them. My husband and I have never really done Valentine’s Day.
I read that New York Times article yesterday and it made me sad. I think our flag should be a symbol that represents us all.
When our children were young, we used to go every July 4th evening to our local city park where we claimed our patch of grass with a blanket and watched a beautiful fireworks show. We stopped going when the children got older but July 4th is still a holiday where we celebrate by being outdoors and having a grilled dinner. Tonight is burgers and fries followed by strawberry shortcakes!
I believe that the only way you make a nation is by shared stories and symbols. The flag is a symbol for ALL Americans and to assign it to one quarter or another is to dismantle the idea that we can all come together and make our nation’s promise come true for everyone.
But that’s just me.
The Fourth of July has always been a nice celebration for our family.
All of my grandparents but one were immigrants from other countries who revered the U.S. because they felt they were given new lives when they came here, met their spouses and raised their families in the U.S. and despite encountering prejudice (what place doesn’t have any) truly believed it was the best place on earth.
I am also from a state that considers itself the birthplace of the revolution so all of that history from the Sons of Liberty to the Boston Tea Party to the Battle of Bunker Hill is part of the everyday life here.
Sadly, because of the soggy weather it’s going to be an indoor celebration this year.
Mmm… that cake looks yummy. :-)
Our 4th of July tradition is to watch the delightful, funny musical 1776. It is an interpretation of how the Declaration of Independence came into existence. This film from 1972 has a surprisingly forward attitude about the Founding Fathers that neither glorifies nor vilifies them. It addresses the hypocrisy of liberty-seekers engaging in or profiting from slaveholding as well as the concession to drop emancipation from the document in order to secede from England. There is a poignant number about a young soldier whose friend got killed in battle. Missives coming into Congress make it clear that Washington is not doing well in command and that his soldiers are in a terrible state. But the gloominess is interspersed with downright human portrayals of key historical figures. The songs are nice, the balance of humor vs drama is impeccable. I highly recommend it!
Anyone here with young kids, grandkids, or other little ones may also want to look into the cartoon series Liberty’s Kids. It is often recommended for homeschool curriculums, and is very well done.
Absolutely! Today is definitely a day for Americans to remember the core principles upon which this nation was founded. To this day, America remains unique in its commitment to free speech in the face of international pressure- including from within- to curtail the voice of the people. We need to keep the First Amendment alive. And despite all the problems plaguing society, there is still indeed much to celebrate.
That cake–and you can make it a million ways–is so yummy and cheerful. I miss it!
Interesting comment about how some disparage the flag these days; same happens in the UK where the English Cross of St George flag is construed by some as racist, fascist, you name it. I find it very sad. For many years I put the American flag in my front window on the 4th of July to amuse my English neighbours who always make a point of wishing me a happy 4th of July. As to my favourite holiday of them all, probably Easter which, thus far, seems slightly less commercialised than Christmas which, sadly, for so many has lost all meaning. I like the six weeks of Lent leading up to Easter and try to use it as a period of reflection and also thanks for the coming of Spring with all of its natural wonders: daffodils, trees starting to leaf out, warmer weather, primroses in our church yard, new lambs in the fields.
You’re definitely right about the St. George cross, and unlike the Irish and the Scots, the English don’t celebrate their “national/saints day”, probably because the flag has become associated with organisations like the BNP.