Let Freedom Ring

On July fourth, we celebrate our liberation from the British and the signing of our Declaration of Independence. An icon of liberty and freedom which quickly traveled the globe. Now two hundred plus years later, barbecues will be ablaze, children young and old alike will celebrate, and department stores will offer bargains.

Close to my old home, pyrotechnics will be launched over the east river directly above a Macy’s display. Each time a shell explodes in the air it cause’s an “oooh” or “wow” while the sweat drips effortlessly down a cold beer. That is unless it’s owner thought ahead and brought one of those insulated foam thing-a-ma-jigs to avoid it.

Each colored burst lighting up the skyline is meant to signify the bombs bursting in air and rockets red glare as recited in our Star Spangled Banner. Since I arrived into this world at 12:05am, the morning of July fifth, it was convenient for me to celebrate on the fourth. Which really  was an excuse to ignite an extra bunch of fireworks, as my friends sang an off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.”

Homemade mortar tubes were taken from their resting places. The grill was fired up to roast pricey morsels brought from sea to shinning sea. Rain or shine, celebrated, often after each of us secretly (or not so secretly) prayed it would not rain.

In the same year, the Super Bowl and I were born. Institutions were put in place to ensure our elderly or infirm did not do without. This while our brave warriors – some of whom I can now only view as children – died in a “Conflict.” Yet whatever you choose to call it, thousands of our own lost their lives without hesitation, simply because they were asked to.