Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

With so many things going on in this country this year – two wars, a terrible economy, tension with other countries, polarized politics – it is easy to become disillusioned. I know I am right now. But just as a New Year brings hope, and Easter brings spiritual rebirth, I find that July 4 often renews our patriotism.

Patriotism is a word that has lost its meaning over the years. It gets attached to many forms of expression, such as burning flags, protesting and criticizing the policies of a President. Many mealy-mouthed politicians often (and shrilly) exclaim things like "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism."

I disagree with this mangling of the definition of the word. Patriotism is defined very simply in the dictionary: love and loyal or zealous support of one's own country. 

That's it. It is not an all-purpose word to cover all acts of disrespectful expression against one's country. It's quite the opposite.

Here's hoping that all Americans rediscover this meaning as we celebrate our Day of Independence.

And here's wishing all of you a Happy July 4th!


And now for a little nostalgia. The thing about the Fourth of July I remember most growing up in the 1960's is my family going over to George Daniel Field to watch the fireworks. If I remember correctly, we would park at Admiral King High School and then walk over from there with our blankets, etc. I remember as a kid being pretty excited.

They were pretty impressive fireworks shows, and they were right above you, too. (Nowadays you seem to watch them at a safe distance.) And there was no mistaking when you were seeing the grand finale, either.

Probably the worst part was the teeming mass of humanity when it was over, all eager to get out of there and back to their cars.

Much later, during a time when I was living in a series of apartments in Sheffield Lake, I remember going over to Avon Lake to watch the fireworks at the Fisher's Big Wheel. The office buildings at the corner of Walker and Moore weren't there yet, so you could spread out your blanket and enjoy the show. It's funny to already be nostalgic about something a mere 20 - 25 years ago.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

They also had fireworks at Sheffield Shopping Center; that's where we'd go every year.

Dan Brady said...

You know, I still think of that shopping center (what's left of it) as "O'Neil's"!